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Integrating the Library into your Course Infrastructure and Activities

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The work with the library should be distributed across the quarter, not limited exclusively to the library workshop. Here are some ideas for how to incorporate attention to library research and developing research skills throughout your quarter.

Setting up an pedagogical infrastructure that integrates the library into the class

  • As you construct your syllabus, schedule time in your week-to-week planning for at least one library visit each term and for activities that will engage students in using the library.
  • Make sure that your Librarian is joined to your Canvas site (or has the URL and access to whatever site -- such as a Wordpress site -- if you're using that as an alternative to Canvas).
  • Order course reserves 
  • Use and refer to the Research Guides in class to make them part of the way your students conceptualize research on their topic and link them to your Canvas site.  Note that there are specific PWR class guides linked to this page as well.  Here are some general research guides that are great for all topics:
  • Invite your assigned librarian to visit your classes early in the quarter to introduce themself to your students and to explain the Research Guides they have developed specifically for your course.  Share assignment sheets or informal student writing on research topics with your librarian to increase your library partner's understanding of the course themes and the student interests and work.

Activities for before the library workshop

  • In preparation for the library workshop, have your students fill out a worksheet designed to help them move from identifying a topic to starting to find sources.  See sample worksheets. Goal: Have students refine their topics and start thinking about sources and search methodology
  • Have the students do a scavenger hunt in the library to familiarize themselves with the building and resources.  Goal: Get students to physically orient themselves to Stanford's resources and to familiarize themselves with pathways to research
  • Visit a particular library branch (such as the Art Library) or collection (such as Special Collections or the Anderson Collection).  Coordinate with a librarian from that branch/collection ahead of time to arrange a tour or activity.  See an example of rhetorical analysis activity for Special Collections. Goal: Expose students to some of the different types of collections and expertise available through the library system and get them excited about primary texts.
  • Have your students practice searching on their own as a warm up to the formal workshop.  See Phyllis Kayten's activity, "From Google to Academic Search Premiere" Goal: Help students understand how different search engines and methods can yield different results so that they become more informed and careful researchers
  • Teach your students the basics of Searchworks or a single database like Academic Search Premiere, and have them find a source related to their topic and email it to you (or your librarian partner) prior to the workshop  Goal: Provide students with practical, guided experience using the databases or online catalogue, teach them how to send citations, and encourage dialogue about research topics

Activities for during the library workshop

The second half of the library workshop is designed and led by the PWR instructor, so set clear learning goals to build on the students' work with the librarian in the first half of the workshop.  Try to engage students in active learning so they implement some of the strategies that they've learned about.

  • Spend some time teaching students how to use a citation management system like RefWorks or Zotero and have them practice saving their citations from their searches to the platform. Goal: Encourage students to move beyond citation correctness to management of sources
  • Have each student use the search strategies s/he learned to find one book source and then have him/her go to the stacks to retrieve it.  In small groups, have them talk about the book they found and evaluate the source using criteria you distribute or have previously discussed as a class.  Goal: Help students turn search strategies into action and practice evaluating sources

Activities for after the library workshop

  • Follow up on the library workshop with at least one or two research exercises, either in class or assigned as homework.  Encourage students to work regularly in at least one library and require that they rely on print as well as non-print sources when conducting research. 
  • Spend class time talking about how to evaluate sources
  • Have students work closely with following citation trails to augment their research, for instance by doing Chris Kamrath's Breadcrumbs Activity