Research Instruction


Renfro Library offers a variety of research instruction options including:


    1. A standardized freshman instruction program
    2. Custom sessions designed for specific disciplines and courses
    3. Assistance in designing assignments that incorporate information literacy elements
    4. Guidelines for research portfolios for senior seminar /capstone courses
    5. One-on-one research consultation sessions for students involved in advanced research or those identified as needing additional help with the research process


Freshman Instruction Program

FYS 111

    Renfro librarians provide a single session that is an overview of library resources and services, including a hands-on activity that familiarizes students with the library basic resources, layout of the library and the library’s webpage.

ENG 112

    Renfro librarians provide a menu of options including librarian led instruction sessions, library research and information literacy assignments, and tracking of one-on-one assigned student interactions at the research assistance desk. Course instructors choose elements to fit with their approach and syllabus. It is recommended that each custom program include elements that address all of the following learning outcomes:
    1. Understanding of types of information resources available, which tools to use to search for each type of resource and how to locate/obtain the items.
    2. Use of scholarly encyclopedias and other background sources to inform the development of a research focus/question/thesis.
    3. Ability to conduct basic topical searches in the library catalog and a general periodical literature database.
    Evaluation of sources for authority, accuracy, bias, currency, scope and relevance to the specific research endeavor will be touched on throughout all of the instruction sessions and assignments.

FYS 112

    Course instructors in this course conduct an activity focused specifically on evaluation of information (based on authority, accuracy, bias, currency, scope and relevance) and critical thinking skills applicable to recognizing misinformation/disinformation.


Discipline and Course Specific Instruction

Librarians collaborate with course instructors to design library research instruction that will address the information literacy needs of students in specific departments and courses. These sessions can consist of one or multiple meetings and be composed of any of the following:

    1. Demonstrations of specific resources and search methods
    2. Hands-on guided discovery activities that lead students through specific resources
    3. Unstructured lab sessions for planning and conducting literature searches on specific topics with librarians available for assistance
    4. Assistance in designing library research assignments is also available (see below)


Librarians are assigned to departments as follows:

    Psychology / Social Work : Rachel Mitchell x1448
    Art / Music / Theatre : Dan Koster x 1454
    All Other Departments : Shannon Lucas x1391

To request a session, please contact us at least 2 weeks in advance of the proposed session date.


Library Research Assignments

If you are giving your students an assignment(s) requiring the use of library resources, we would greatly appreciate if you would:

    1. Check on the availability of appropriate library resources and/or collaborate with a librarian to design an assignment that is well supported by our resources.
    2. Email the library with a copy of the assignment guidelines, so that we can be sure to provide appropriate guidance to students seeking assistance at the reference desk.
    3. Incorporate a variety of types of sources (books, professional articles, scholarly articles, reference databases, and appropriate websites), so that students can build information literacy skills for lifelong learning and the workplace, as well as the academic environment.
    4. Provide clear and detailed guidelines regarding the types of sources you expect students to use, including background sources that may not ultimately be cited.
    5. Be careful with the use of terminology related to electronic resources (web, online, digital, electronic, etc.). Although you may want students to minimize the use of open websites, most of the libraries resources are digitized, electronic versions of books and periodicals/journals. We also invest heavily in high quality reference databases.
    6. Encourage students to come to the research assistance desk for help!

Librarians are available to help with library research assignment design. To discuss an assignment, contact the appropriate librarian as listed above under Discipline and Course Specific Instruction.


One-on-One Research Consultations

This service is offered for students engaged in senior seminars or other major research assignments, as well as those identified as needing additional help with research skill building.

To make an appointment, students can contact


Research Portfolios

Research portfolios help guide students through and document the results of each step in the research process. They help students allocate time appropriately and assure that they are doing original work.

For more information on research portfolios, contact Shannon Lucas, slucas@mhu.edu, x1391.