Skip to main content

Outreach Services Division: Research Instruction

Research Instruction at Furman

Library faculty members would love to partner with you to help your students master research skills in the academic environment.  Our goal is to help them move beyond their standard reliance on Wikipedia and Google into fluency in the research process, including an understanding of the nuances of database searches and resource types as well as an ability to evaluate and select the most relevant, reliable information for their coursework.

We do not offer "library tours" or general orientation sessions.  Instead, our research instruction is course-integrated and assignment-specific.  In addition to research instruction sessions, we are happy to assist you with designing effective research assignments and then meeting with individual students or small groups from your class to discuss their research.

To arrange research instruction for your classes, please contact Mary Fairbairn or a specific librarian with whom you would like to work (if you need suggestions, see our library liaison tab for departmental liaisons).  The library faculty members who offer research instruction are

  • Laura Baker
  • Jenny Colvin
  • Mary Fairbairn
  • Steve Richardson
  • Patricia Sasser
  • Andrea Wright
  • Libby Young

Checklist for Effective Research Assignments

An effective research assignment…

  • is based on the student’s own inquiry, wonder, curiosity (flexibility).
  • is based on questions or problems rather than topic areas.
  • has a clear purpose (doesn’t seem like busy work).
  • is highly relevant to the course.
  • is thesis-governed.
  • develops familiarity with available research resources. (Doesn’t just direct students to resources placed on reserve.)
  • does not direct students to outdated or inappropriate resources.
  • can be completed with the library’s available resources (or ILL if there is time).
  • teaches students to evaluate the information they find. (Critical Thinking)
  • requires that students synthesize and integrate the information into their own thoughts and writing. (Entering the scholarly conversation)
  • deters students from plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty.
  • makes reasonable demands of students (Is not too long or complicated for their level).
  • makes clear to students what you are asking of them (clearly phrased, without undefined scholarly jargon).
  • doesn’t have right and wrong answers. (No prescribed responses or pre-set solutions.)