Teaching and Assessing Research Strategies in the Digital Age: Collaboration Is the Key

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Contribution to Books

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At the turn of the century, as the conversion from print to digital media gained speed, writing faculty at our institution (Boise State University) became bewildered by the variety of research strategies available to students and frustrated by the research that students were actually doing. Every week, it seemed, the library added databases to the virtual library, and writing faculty couldn't keep up with the addi- tions. We didn't necessarily know which databases were new, what they contained, or how to search them. Further, features of the databases kept changing; search methods changed from one visit to the next. Students, in the meantime, weren't making use of the databases very much if at all. In fact, the writing program's assessment of student writing portfolios showed that students were taking the path of least resistance: general Google searches and Wikipedia citations. With so many library resources available to us faculty and so much information avail- able to students, where to begin? More to the point, how could we help our NextGen students navigate information that we ourselves found overwhelming?

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