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An Intervention To Improve Information Research Skills

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.101.1 - 5.101.5



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Paper Authors

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Joanne M. Goode

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James B. Stenger

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2793

An Intervention to Improve Information Research Skills

James B. Stenger, Joanne M. Goode Miami University, Oxford, OH


Reviewing the literature cited by undergraduates in research and design projects revealed significant use of World Wide Web resources and a lack of journal citations. To determine why the imbalance of information sources was occurring a survey of students was conducted. The survey sought to determine their knowledge of and comfort level in using the various information resources available to them. The results of the survey led to the creation of a two- hour information resource workshop for the students. The abilities and attitudes as reported in the survey are presented and discussed. The workshop developed to address the deficiencies is detailed. Student and faculty views obtained after instituting the workshop are discussed and related to the success of the workshop. Ideas on improving the intervention are also presented.


The Department of Manufacturing Engineering at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, requires students in the Department to take its two-semester senior project course. (This course sequence fulfills the University’s capstone requirement and is open to all students at Miami with senior standing. It is common for students from the Physics Department majoring in Engineering Physics to take the Department’s sequence). Students work in small groups of typically 3 or 4 students and are assigned an advisor from the Manufacturing Engineering faculty. In the first semester, students identify and define a problem, investigate solutions, and generate a proposal; during the second semester the students implement their proposed solution. It became evident in grading the project reports that the information research done for the projects was less than what was desired1. All students showed familiarity with using the World Wide Web (WWW). It was not evident, though, that critical analysis of the sites and information gathered there was being used. Also, there was little evidence that students were aware of, or aware of the full use of, the resources available through the library.

Addressing the Problem

This problem is not unique to Manufacturing Engineering or Miami University. One survey of faculty in the sciences found that only 26% rated the ability of their third and fourth year student to do library research as good2. In the days of physical card catalogues and bound indices and abstracts of technical literature, students were typically taken to the library and shown these resources. Today, students typically have computer access to library resources, from electronic “card catalogues” to article abstract services to on-line full-text article services. These students

Goode, J. M., & Stenger, J. B. (2000, June), An Intervention To Improve Information Research Skills Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8503

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