One-shot library instruction sessions may not increase student use of academic journals or diversity of sources
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Conway, Aislinn (2015). One-shot library instruction sessions may not increase student use of academic journals or diversity of sources. Evidence Based Library and Information Practice 10 (4), 238-240
Objective - To assess the effect of one-shot library research workshops focused on database searching on student coursework bibliographies. Design - Comparative bibliometric analysis of student bibliographies. Setting - Career and Transfer Program at a community college in Illinois, United States of America. Subjects - Students taking an English 101 course. Methods - During the study, 39 sections of English 101 occurred. An optional library instruction session was offered to faculty and as a result students from 18 sections participated. Each session consisted of a 45-minute lecture and 30 minutes of independent research time. The librarian delivering the session introduced students to keyword searching and demonstrated the online library catalogue and two core electronic databases; Academic Search Complete, and Opposing Viewpoints in Context (OVC), and other databases of their choosing. Students in each session were required to submit a variety of assignments in an exit portfolio at the end of the semester. Sections of students were excluded if the instructors did not submit the students' portfolios and they no longer taught at the community college, making it impossible to track down the portfolios. Exclusion also occurred in cases where sections were taught by the researchers. Seventeen sections who had attended library instruction group and 14 sections who had not attended the library instruction group were included in the study and randomised. Researchers evaluated portfolios according to the following criteria: whether the student who submitted the portfolio attended library instruction; whether their portfolio earned a pass or fail mark; total number of citations in bibliographies; number of each type of source (e.g., book, journal, Internet resource, or other; and dates of sources). Main Results - Data were collected from 115 portfolios submitted by students who had attended a library session and 92 portfolios from students who had not attended a library session. Student pass or fail status was not reported. Attending library instruction did not have a significant effect on the mean number of total citations: 5.513 for attendees vs. 6.076 for non-attendees. Of 205 student portfolios evaluated, there was no difference in the number of types of resources used by students who had library instruction (2.3 +/- 0.1) and those who had none (2.2 +/- 0.1; p &gt; 0.05). Conclusion - The library instruction sessions did not increase the use of academic journals or the diversity of sources used. However, students were more likely to use library sources if they attended training. The authors recommend that demonstrating multiple databases should be covered in later sessions and more conceptual information literacy instruction should be the first step. Librarians could teach the value of different types of sources; connect the sources to the tools needed to locate and access them; and demonstrate how to effectively evaluate sources. The authors recommend further research to evaluate objectives, content and outcomes of this type of library instruction.