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Onground Instruction Menu for Faculty: Library Instruction


We’re happy to visit your class and teach students both basic and advanced research principles including critical thinking about information, evaluation of knowledge, search skills, plagiarism, and citation styles.

Offerings can be combined and customized to meet assignment learning outcomes.

Instruction requests need to be made at least a week in advance of your preferred date in order to provide the librarian time to prepare the instruction session.

Categories of Instruction

  • Constructing a research question:

What makes a good research question?  Students learn to identify and construct research questions and thesis statements which are scoped appropriately for a particular assignment. 

  • Selecting appropriate resources: Primary, secondary and beyond

This session builds upon a basic understanding of the types of information resources available.  Students learn the difference between primary and secondary sources and fee-based versus free sources.  The session can include instruction on identifying different information types: research, commentary, review, opinion, and case studies.

  • Selecting appropriate resources:

Do I need an encyclopedia, a journal article, or a blog?  In this session students will learn about discipline-specific electronic and print resources which will aid them in completing their assignments.  Students will be able to identify general and subject-specific resources and differentiate between source types: scholarly, trade and popular sources.

  • Evaluating resources:

Does it matter who authored a website?  Students learn how to critically evaluate the value of information by examining its purpose, bias, authority, accuracy, currency, and coverage.  Does an information source provide alternative viewpoints?  Include contradictions?  Students learn to determine the most authoritative information sources based on the specific focus of their research question. This session typically focuses on web resources but can be applied to any type of information. This session can also be presented as a flipped classroom session by assigning the library’s online evaluating sources tutorial before the session.

  • Social context of information:

How is the latest research in the sciences shared?  This session addresses discipline-specific issues surrounding information creation and dissemination.  Depending on faculty/student interest, the class may explore online privacy issues and the pitfalls of social networking.  

  • OneSearch:

How do I use the new catalog to search for books and articles? Can I search the catalog like Google? How do I print pages from an electronic book?  Students learn to effectively locate and access print and electronic materials using OneSearch.  

  • Researching with subject specific databases:

Students learn the technical aspects of database searching: locating articles or media, finding related articles, printing, emailing, and saving, and using citation tools within databases.  Librarians may include advanced searching techniques, by request.  This session is most effective with a hands-on opportunity for students but can also be conducted in the class’s regular classroom. 

  • Summit and Interlibrary loan:

How do I get that book on Nazi propaganda from the University of Washington?  Students learn how to access and search the Summit catalog (shared among 37 academic libraries in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho) and place requests for materials.  What if neither the CU Library nor Summit has the book I want? How do I get the full text of an article if it isn’t in the database? Students learn how to request materials from non-Summit libraries using interlibrary loan.

  • Google Scholar:

Since they are going to use the web anyway, shouldn’t students know the best places to go? Students learn what Google Scholar is, when to use it, how to set up its preferences to link to items at the CU Library, and how to determine if an article found on Scholar is peer-reviewed.

  • Advanced Search Skills:

Students learn the principles behind Boolean operators, truncation, subject terms, wildcards, and how to use them. This session can also be presented as a flipped classroom session by assigning the library’s advanced search skills tutorial before the session.

  • Finding your synonym:

Is it “substance abuse” or “drug addiction?”  Students identify discipline-specific keywords and subject terms that describe their research topics and build search strategies that broaden or narrow their searches.

  • Plagiarism:

In this interactive session, students identify common errors leading to plagiarism and learn how to avoid them.  The discussion focuses on how students can successfully integrate paraphrases and quotations with their own writing and also touches on CU’s academic honesty policy and copyright.  This session can also be presented as a flipped classroom session by assigning the library’s online plagiarism tutorial before the session.

  • Citation style workshop:

What are the latest changes to APA and MLA?  Students learn how to construct perfect in-text citations and references lists using APA, Chicago, or MLA styles.  This session may include instruction on how to effectively write an annotated bibliography, by request.  The session is most effective when students bring a draft of their references list to edit in class.

  • Zotero:

How can students manage resources for their research papers and senior theses?  Zotero is a free online system that allows anyone to organize, tag, annotate, and share their research documents online. 

  • Intellectual property:

Anything I find on the web is free, right?  In this session students will learn about copyright, trademarks, and information creation and sharing as they relate to academic pursuits.  Librarians will tailor this session to the context of the course.

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