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Course & Subject Guides

Ask Your Librarians - Greensburg Campus

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Teach with the Library

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As part of our Introduction to Research instruction suite, we offer the Freshman Seminar, Composition 1, and Composition 2 information literacy instruction classes. These classes are meant to serve as a sequential introduction to the library resources and the research process. These classes are complementary and intend to deepen the students' understanding of conducting college-level research.

The Upper Level Course and Capstone Project instruction options are meant for students in higher-level classes that explore a particular area of study. These sessions prepare students to identify and work with the specific databases, books, and journals that relate to their major or field of research.

Beyond the traditional instruction setting, we also offer alternative formats of information literacy instruction including research consultations and customized research guides. These types of instruction can be tailored to particular courses as students and instructors work with the library to gather specific research tools.

Our Cornerstone/Seminar sessions prepare incoming students to begin using the library when working on class assignments and research papers. Our aim is to introduce them to the research process and get them better acquainted with utilizing the libraries' resources. We will cover:

  • Learning more about the ULS website and library services
  • Developing research topics and search strategies for databases like Academic Search Premier
  • Retrieving citations, saving articles, printing, and differentiating between scholarly and popular articles
  • Using PittCat to locate books and other materials at Millstein and in the ULS system
  • Getting help from librarians and scheduling research consultations

Online instruction covers the same topics, with online activities and discussion with a librarian. The handout below is one of the group activities completed at in-person sessions.

The Composition 1 session focuses on familiarizing students with databases and other research tools, supporting them as they become more comfortable with research projects. Students work together in small groups to explore a specific research tool. Each group then makes a short presentation to the class in order to show what they've learned and so that everyone in the class can see each tool being used for research.  This session typically covers:

  • Credo Reference
  • Finding books using PittCat
  • Academic Search Premier
  • Finding credible websites using Google

The handouts below were created for a specific Composition 1 class and assignment.  We are happy to modify these based on different instructors' requirements. Please let us know what would work best for your course and your students!

The Composition 2 session is meant to serve as a companion to Freshman Seminar and Composition 1 as students transition from their first-semester courses to intermediate-level courses. Students will build on the skills learned in these earlier sessions. Navigating and evaluating a variety of sources is the focus. This session covers:

  • Utilizing library databases in order to find appropriate, relevant sources
  • Learning how to evaluate sources and determine if they meet information needs
  • Being able to differentiate between scholarly, substantive news, and popular articles, as well as websites

Instruction sessions can also be coordinated for specific classes in order to show students more specific resources for a particular field. Sessions can be conducted in the library or the classroom to prepare students to engage with subject-specific databases, books, and tools that relate to a particular assignment or topic.

Capstone instruction sessions are meant to prepare upper-level students for their Capstone projects. These sessions will help students develop their research topics, find and evaluate relevant sources, and delve more deeply into subject-specific resources that relate to the students' field. 

These research guides (LibGuides) reflect some of the resources highlighted in these types of sessions:

Faculty also have the option of integrating online research consultations into students' coursework. These can be scheduled in conjunction with instruction sessions or may serve in lieu of a formal class.

In a consultation setting, students gain more individualized experience with specific library resources as they research topics with librarians. Research consultations can be scheduled as one-on-one sessions or with small groups.

Librarians are able to work with students during these consultations on general research help, specific topic development, and guided research support. Students may schedule these appointments on their own for any class, or as part of an assignment.

In addition to or in lieu of information literacy instruction sessions, librarians can create customized research guides for a particular class, topic, or assignment. These guides help students to locate relevant research materials including books, journals, and databases. Some examples include: