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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 your library liaison.  The library faculty members who offer research instruction are

  • Laura Baker
  • Paige Dhyne
  • Brittany Champion
  • Mary Fairbairn
  • Patricia Sasser
  • Libby Young

Checklist for Effective Research Assignments

An effective research assignment…

  • is based on the student’s own inquiry, wonder, curiosity, and discovery (allows flexibility and personal choice).
  • 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  • does not direct students to outdated or inappropriate resources.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).
  • requires students to evaluate the information they find.
  • guides students through the process of synthesizing and integrating the research 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.)