Simple Assessment / Preparation Tool # 1
What are keywords? What is a research question or thesis statement? How are they linked?
Keywords are used to search databases. Keywords can be the primary search terms used for searching, or Keywords can be used to identify subject headings created by indexers to organize information.
Prior to a library instruction session ask students to identify the key concepts to be researched. A single word topic is not sufficient. A fully developed research question or thesis statement is not required YET. Identifying key concepts is the first step toward developing the research question or thesis statement.
In order to effectively research, a student should have 3 to 5 key concepts identified and written down. From those 3-5 key concepts, the student should be encouraged to think of synonyms or variant words and concepts.
When students have their list of key concepts, keywords, and variant concepts and words, then they are ready for database research.
Simple Assessment / Preparation Tool # 2
Where might you find the information you are looking for?
Ask students to create a list of resources for information in your field. What sources can the students identify? Do they understand who creates the information? Do they understand why the information is created? Do they understand how the information is created?
Provide students with a variety of sample information sources and ask them to identify what they are looking at and how it might be applied for use in their field.
When students understand how to critically select and apply information sources in their field then they are ready to write a research paper or report utilizing sources.
Simple Assessment / Preparation Tool # 3
What is plagiarism? What is the standard citation style for your field of study?
Clearly state your policy on plagiarism in your course syllabus or research assignment. Clearly indicate what citation style is required for their research.
Ask students to select one source (book, article, website, video, etc) and create a bibliographic citation for that item. Ask them also to write an in-text citation for the item, and a quotation citation for that same item.
When students can complete this assignment, they are ready to write a full-length research paper or report utilizing sources.