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Missouri State University Libraries

First-Year Programs Library Resources

The mission of the Duane G. Meyer Library instruction program is to encourage the development of information literacy skills for all Missouri State University students. We define information literacy as the “ability to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information” (American Library Association, 1989). These essential information-seeking skills and behaviors contribute to an individual’s ability to think critically and advance his or her success as a life-long learner.

Information literacy can be defined as a process by which students come to:

  • Recognize when they have a need for information
  • Identify the kinds of information needed to address a given problem or issue
  • Develop a search strategy and find and evaluate the needed information
  • Organize the information and use it effectively to address the problem at hand
  • Use the information legally and ethically

Collaboration and communication between librarians and instructors is essential to a successful information literacy program. Several options are available to assist instructors with the teaching of information literacy skills.

Library Instruction Guidelines for First-Year Programs (GEP 101 & UHC 110)

The Reference Department tries to be as flexible as possible when scheduling a library session for classes. However, we ask that faculty and instructors respect the following policies:

  • Research has shown the most effective information literacy instruction happens at the point-of-need. Therefore, we respectfully request all librarian led instruction sessions be tied to a specific research assignment. If you need general instruction that is not tied to a specific research assignment, please use the Searchpath tutorial.
  • We design each session to suit the unique needs of your course so please schedule as early as possible to reserve the time slot that best fits your students' needs, even if the class won't be coming to the library until later in the semester.
  • We strongly recommend that you plan the session for when students are beginning to work on their research project. Note that the first three weeks of the semester might be too early, depending on your course schedule. We will also help to design course assignments that effectively integrate information literacy and library research.
  • Plan to attend the entire session with your students. Interaction between faculty members, librarians, and students enriches the learning process and emphasizes the importance of the library and information literacy to the students. In addition, students are often more attentive and engaged when the faculty member is present.

If you would like to schedule a session please use the Library Instruction Request Form.

What is Searchpath?

Searchpath is a self-instructional tutorial to teach students basic library and research skills. It covers the research process from initial topic selection to citation styles and the issue of plagiarism. There is a link to Searchpath on the Libraries' home page or it can be accessed directly from http://library.missouristate.edu/tutorial/index.html. Its content is organized into six modules:

  1. Starting smart: an overview that introduces students to various types of sources.
  2. Choosing a topic: provides tips on broadening and narrowing a topic and discusses search concepts.
  3. Using SWAN: has a live practice search in our online catalog.
  4. Finding articles: students can practice searching the Academic Search Premier database.
  5. Using the Web: includes the comparative evaluation of Web sources.
  6. Citing sources: also includes the topics of plagiarism and copyright.

Each of the six sections takes about 10-15 minutes to complete, and students can do this on their own time outside of class. Each module contains exercises that students complete online. The exercises consist of interactive multiple choice questions and hands-on practice with the databases. Exercises may be repeated as needed to improve scores. Final scores may be printed and submitted to instructors.

Course-Related Assignments

A well-designed information literacy assignment:

  • Identifies learning objectives and outcomes
  • Relates directly to the course
  • Requires the student to generate a product
  • Has clear instructions and strategies for success

Reference librarians can help design assignments meaningful to students. In addition, the librarians can be aware of the project and be prepared to assist students when they come for assistance. In many cases the collaboration between an instructor and a librarian can result in assignments and class sessions that help further the goals of the class, allow students to understand the role of the Library in their education, and enhance class discussion.

We will work with you to help you design the most effective assignment for your particular course and goals. See below for some examples of effective information literacy assignments.

Examples of Effective Assignments
Well-designed, course-related library assignments are an effective way to introduce students to library research. Students learn best about library resources when the instruction is linked to a specific, focused research assignment. The assignments listed in this site are offered as alternatives to the traditional research paper, but they are not exclusive of longer projects.

Library Tours
Meyer Library tours are open to individuals on a walk-in basis. No sign-up or registration is required.

Workshop Events
Each semester Meyer Library offers walk-in workshops on various research-related topics. The workshop schedule will be posted in Library News & Events found on the home page.

Print Guide for First-Year Instructors
Detailed guide contains goals, outcomes, assignments, and suggested assessment for first-year students. It also includes an extensive bibliography of both print and electronic resources.

PowerPoint Presentation for First-Year Instructors
Presentation given to GEP instructors contains suggested assignments and information related to increasing student information literacy skills.

Self-Guided Tour Information Guide
Basic guide to services and locations of collections.

For additional information, assistance, or suggestions contact Crystal Gale, Information Literacy Coordinator, 417-836-4345, crystalgale@missouristate.edu.