ed to your course.
Learning Outcomes for Students
- Training with databases and IU library resources.
- Awareness of the writing tutorial services available to them at their campus.
Imagine that you are walking through the dining commons in the University Center on campus, and you see a group of people chatting. Some of them are familiar friends while others are strangers, and you want to join the conversation. What do you do? Do you barge right in and start talking? Do you stop and listen first before saying what you have to say? Do you acknowledge what other people have said first before weighing in with your point of view?
Whether you’re a scholar or expert writing an academic research article or book, or a college student writing a research paper, you will do the academic equivalent of the polite method of joining an in-person conversation—you will listen first to the conversation before adding your contribution. When you have an idea that you want to research and write about, you must first see what other people have to say in the scholarly conversations in that field and acknowledge what those other people have to say. Acknowledging those conversations is meant to inform your points of view, but not necessarily dictate or define them.
To help you get acquainted with academic research and learn how you might use it as a college student, you will complete an assignment that requires you to use library resources. Most scholarly research is available only through library search tools, so it is important to be aware of the resources you can use to access and understand scholarly conversations in a variety of subjects.
Instructions for Students:
Your main objective for this assignment is to learn how to use library resources to explore the scholarly conversations on a topic related to our course. There are five (5) components of this assignment, and you will complete this assignment after visiting the library for an instruction session with a librarian, as well as visiting the Writing Center to learn about resources for citing sources.
[Instructor Option 1] The topic specified for this assignment is ______. [Instructors can choose a topic but should ensure that there are numerous easily accessible library sources on this topic.]
[Instructor Option 2] You are encouraged to choose a topic that is related to the interests and concerns of college students today. For example, you might research young adults and distracted driving, or how sleep influences the academic achievement of college students, or college students and textbook prices. We will spend time in our FYS library instruction discussing how to refine a topic and develop a search strategy to find sources on that topic.
List of at least 5 keywords: To help you get started brainstorming keywords, you will conduct a Google search to get general, background information about your topic. Make sure to choose sites that are credible. Credibility is determined based on the content of the information, not its format. In other words, credibility is not dependent on whether the information is delivered in print or electronically. Define credibility in terms of qualities that are related to the source’s content, currency, and Make a list of the keywords, concepts, and ideas you can use to conduct a search in library research tool.
List two (2) library research tools and find two (2) sources: Once you have your list of keywords, use IUCAT, Academic Search Premier, or any other article database provided by the library to conduct a search on your topic. You should evaluate your search results and choose two sources to read. One source can be popular source, such as a magazine or newspaper article. Your second source must be scholarly and peer-reviewed. We will discuss how to define “scholarly” and locate peer-reviewed sources during our library instruction session. List the two library research tools you used to locate your sources.
Summaries: Read the two sources you located on your topic and write a brief summary of the main ideas and topics each source is about. In other words, in your summaries, you are describing the conversations that author(s) engage in in this publication. If you have difficulty understanding the source, do not be discouraged—learning how to read and engage with scholarly information can be challenging, but it is an important skill to cultivate in college. You may need to use an online dictionary to help you understand jargon, or specialized terminology terms.
Citations: Provide complete MLA [or APA] style citations for each source. The citation should appear before each of the summary paragraphs. Our Writing Center visit will help you learn how to properly format citations. Citing sources helps you avoid plagiarism, bolsters your credibility, and demonstrates that you are a thoughtful, ethical participant in an academic conversation.
Reflection: After writing these two summary paragraphs with citations, you will write a reflection that answers the following questions. Use complete sentences to fully address each point, and you may use more than one paragraph.
- What clues do you look for when trying to decide something is credible?
- How easy or difficult was it to locate two sources on your topic?
- How easy or difficult was it to understand the scholarly conversation(s) in your sources?
- How would you define “scholar” or “scholarly” after accessing and reading these sources?
- How might you apply what you learned about conducting library research in this assignment to other assignments you complete as a college student at IU?