Assessing Sources Students Select for Research Papers

Institution:  Anne Arundel Community College

English department faculty bring classes to the library for information literacy instruction; librarians encourage students to use reliable resources found within the library catalog and databases.  We analyzed 481 student Works Cited pages citing 3381 sources from 46 sections of ENG 112 and ENG 121 classes taught by 28 full and part time faculty members during Fall Semester 2010 to assess the kinds of resources students use and the degree to which they utilize ebooks.

Library budgets are expended to insure collections effectively support the curriculum taught at the college.  In an environment of increased competition for scarce resources budget cuts, higher enrollment and online classes mean that judicious expenditure is essential.  In recent years the library has added thousands of electronic books as well as an increasing number of electronic databases which supply full text content of journals, newspapers and magazines. Our project allowed us to assess whether college resources are being expended on materials students actually use. It also enabled us to asses the effectiveness of our library instruction as it related to research assignments.

The project outcomes included a strategy leading to more effective assignments, closer collaboration between English faculty and librarians, better information literacy instruction and higher student success with research.  Data from the project supports teaching strategies and library collection development efforts.  We are able to assess patters of source us and respond/adjust accordingly.  Our findings enabled us to create a template for faculty assigning research-based projects that will help them guide students toward reliable resources.  With support of the Chair of the English Department and the Vice President for Learning at AACC, the Assignment Audit Checklist will be distributed to all part time/adjunct faculty.  Its use will support student success and will be used by the instruction librarian to tailor classes relevant to student needs.

Project type:  Completed Project

Budget: N/A

Team members:

Professor Janice Lathrop, Reference Librarian
Professor Jessica Rabin, English Department

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