What do students learn in Library workshops?

We provide a library workshop for every freshmen writing course at Stanford (for more details, see Our Information Literacy Program), and wanted to know what students found most helpful about the workshops. For the last 2 quarters, we have surveyed students at the end of the quarter, after they have turned in their final assignment (a research based paper). One of the questions we asked was:
“What information from the library workshop was most useful to you when researching your topic?”

  • 52% mentioned Databases — either in general, or a specific database:

    “Information on how to use the databases was EXTREMELY helpful. I really had no idea they existed and all the amazing articles that existed and applied to my specific topic.”

    “The academic resources available and the library databases – i never knew about them! and i don’t think most freshmen do.”

    “Learning about Academic Search Premier and Lexis Nexis was most useful to me.”

  • 30% mentioned the library catalog (Socrates/Searchworks) or website:

    “I really understood how to use Socrates more efficiently at the workshop”

    “Then our librarian told us about SearchWorks — which has now become my new best friend.”

    “It was most useful learning about how the library’s website works”

  • 20% mentioned learning their way around the physical library, and/or finding print books:

    “Touring the library and understanding how to physically find the books was very helpful.”

    “Learning how to find materials in the library. Had I not seen that, I probably would have been very lost most of the time.”

  • 17% mentioned learning how to construct good searches as the most important thing they learned. Other things mentioned included learning about their class Research Guide, or about the Information Center page. A few mentioned learning about how to contact a librarian by chat or email.

    In a future post, I’ll describe responses to the question:
    “What advice would you give about conducting research to someone who had yet to take Freshman Writing?”

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