Where can I find the information I need? How do I find that information quickly? How will I know if it is credible? What questions do I need to ask – and answer – about my topic?
These are the types of questions the class UNV-170: Introduction to Library Research will answer. One of the smallest classes at IWU, the class usually runs between four and six students, giving students a lot of personal attention.
“What we try to do with the course is lay the foundations of information in general and how information has grown and how evaluation has or has not changed over the centuries,” Library Director Sheila Carlblom said. “We’re really trying to give people the fundamentals.”
Carlblom and Reference Librarian Laura Kelsey teach the class, with Carlblom as the main professor.
“It’s very practical for the student. We show you a lot of tips and tricks that you aren’t going to gather on your own,” Kelsey said. “A lot of students comment after they’ve had the class that they wish they had had the class earlier in their college careers.”
The class will teach students how to evaluate sources and databases to find out what’s worth using in their papers. It will also focus on what resources to use in certain situations. The class has been offered every semester since 2007, but did not run this semester due to low registration.
Carlblom and Kelsey would like a class size of about 10 or 12.
“We are prepared for 24, but you would get far less individualized attention,” Carlbom said. “We said we could do 24 because so many professors said they wanted their students taking this.”
Carlblom finds the individual attention very helpful to students, as they are able to bring their own research topics to class.
“We’re not here to make extra work. What we would rather do is the students have something in play, which is why its almost easier for a sophomore or junior, or even a senior, because they have so many research projects they need to get done,” Carlblom said. “We don’t want to create more work, but better work.”
Both Carlblom and Kelsey find the course does more than just teach students how to be successful in college.
“Even if you’re not going to [graduate] school, these are concepts you can continually apply in lifelong learning,” Kelsey said. “Sometimes students wing it in preparing for classes and just get the information that’s necessary, but in your personal life doing personal research thats not what you’re going to want.”
“All of life is dependant on asking the right questions. It’s important to understand that these are the questions we need to ask to do due diligence in every area of life and when it comes to our health and what we put in our bodies, that’s important stuff,” Carlblom said, using the example of advertised “miracle” diet pills to show how important it will be out of college to do your research.
For the 2015 spring semester, UNV-170, a one credit hour class, will be held Mondays from 2:20-3:15 p.m.
“We are more than willing to work with whatever students are willing to come our way,” Carlblom said.