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Reference & Instruction Services: Instruction

Teaching with the Library

What We Teach

During a live instruction session, librarians can provide a focused lesson on one of these learning outcomes or touch on a few of them more briefly:

  • Search the SU Libraries catalog using title, author, and keywords.
  • Search 1-2 specialized databases.
  • Brainstorm research topics.
  • Track the literature by finding sources from a list of references.
  • Evaluate source credibility and authority.
  • Distinguish between primary and secondary sources.
  • Identify peer-reviewed and scholarly sources.
  • Cite sources and avoid plagiarism.

How We Teach

In addition to live class sessions, librarians can provide asynchronous instruction by:

  • Publishing an online research guide tailored to your specific course or assignment;
  • Creating a video or interactive tutorial to walk students through a process;
  • Participating in a Canvas discussion;
  • Assisting with adding library resources to your Canvas course;
  • Collaborating with you to design new research assignments.

Contact Us

We're happy to explore new ways of teaching with you. Please use the research instruction request form to tell us what you have in mind.

Planning Research Assignments

planning for student success

Try the assignment yourself.

Completing your own assignment using resources available at Shenandoah can help you discover potential stumbling blocks for your students.

Librarians can help resolve problems and identify useful resources in the collections. Be sure to contact us if you would like the library to purchase materials to support your course.

Specify the types of resources students may use.

Some of your students may be totally unfamiliar with scholarly sources. Our source evaluation assignments on the next tab can help them understand the characteristics of academic journal articles.

Consider including research stages and/or number and type of required sources in the assignment rubric.

Explain the value of documenting sources.

Creating properly formatted citations in various styles is easier than ever, but many students have never considered the real purpose and value of citations. Our interactive tutorial can help.

Consider assigning one or more of the scaffolded activities below to encourage an inquiry-based approach to engaging with sources.

Please contact Aimee Gee with questions about using or adapting one of these activities or to suggest something new.

Source Evaluation

Outcome: Students will consider and explain the value of potential research sources.

More Assignment Ideas

The two guides below include resources that can support alternative research projects in your courses.

Engaging students in crowdsourcing projects like transcriptions and Wikipedia edit-a-thons can expose them to primary historical sources and reveal processes of knowledge production. 

This guide includes resources and tips for creating research posters and slide presentations. Want to get creative? Consider asking students to present their research findings through audio, video, infographics, or digital timelines or maps instead!