Library Instruction Lessons


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Home >> Help & Services >> Research & Instruction >> Library Instruction Lessons

Library Instruction Lesson Options

All lesson options are available in all instruction modes

1. Embedded into Student Success Pathways

This library instruction option is intended for the University Seminar courses, General Studies 100, and other introductory equivalent courses

Students will learn the basics of the SDSU Library and its information environment. Students will be able to identify key spaces and services within the Love Library and Library Addition buildings.

This session will cover:

  • SDSU Library buildings, spaces, and services
  • Our information world and its different arenas
  • An information needs and information-seeking behavior
  • Who are your SDSU Librarians?

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will be able to identify an information need
  • Students will be articulate the services, spaces, and support of the SDSU Library
  • Student will be able to find their SDSU Librarian

This lesson is also available as a Canvas Module

2. Embedded into General Education Requirements

This library instruction option is intended for GE courses, specifically GE Communication and Critical Thinking; and other equivalent courses

Students will learn to read OneSearch records and be able to determine the format and location of items. Students will also learn to find physical items within the library and answer critical thinking questions about the organization of information. This lesson is focused on digital and media literacy issues within OneSearch and will not cover keywords (covered in Option 2), or search strategies in OneSearch or in individual databases (covered in Option 4).

This session will cover:

  • Areas of a OneSearch record (author, date, location, etc)
  • Finding the location of electronic and print materials as described within the record
  • Locating materials on the shelf using a LC Call number, and talking about the context and arrangement of materials

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will learn to read OneSearch records to determine the format and location of items
  • Students will locate materials on the shelf to better understand how information is arranged within a library

Students will learn how to analyze a topic, use reference resources, and develop a search strategy for finding sources for their writing assignments.

This session will cover:

  • how to narrow a topic and brainstorm topic ideas
  • how to identify key concepts and controlled vocabulary
  • how to use reference tools
  • how to select search terms and develop a search strategy

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will break a topic down into smaller to engage in the iterative process of narrowing a research question
  • Students will select terms related to their key concepts to develop a search strategy.

Students will learn to assess a source for relevancy and authority to decide whether it meets the needs of their writing assignment. Students will engage in activities and conversations throughout this lesson to help them understand the nature of popular and academic publishing.

This session will cover:

  • how to research an author
  • how to identify publication process
  • how to determine the intent of sources

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will recognize different processes of source creation to choose sources that appropriately meet their research needs:
    • Editorial oversight
    • Intended audience
    • Review process
  • Students will determine an author’s expertise and the reputation of a publication to assess a source’s credibility within their research assignment

students will be taught to execute advanced searches in selected databases and resources. Databases for this lesson will include Proquest Newspapers, JSTOR, and Academic Search Premier.

This session will cover:

  • how to use advanced search options for specific resources such as LexisNexis Academic, the Library’s Catalog, JSTOR
  • how to find a specific publication using a Journal Title Search
  • how to find a known item such as an article that is referenced in an index record or a works cited page
  • how to use controlled vocabulary for targeted, field-specific searching

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will use controlled vocabulary and field-specific search options and limiters to retrieve topically relevant sources
  • Students will combine search terms with Boolean operators to effectively interpret their research question into an effective search query

During this session, a librarian will come to your normal classroom and answer student questions about the research process. This session normally takes place during the drafting stage of a research-based writing assignment and is ideally positioned after students have spent some time searching for sources. Students should come to class with at least one question about doing research in hand.

3. Subject Librarian Taught

This library instruction option is intended for subject-specific courses. We recognize that our campus subject areas have different information needs that leverage discipline-specific resources. For instance, the information you use is English is different than the information needed in Engineering. Our Subject Librarians are available to develop and teach subject-specific information literacy in various subject courses.

Seminar papers and literature reviews vary from discipline to discipline. Your subject librarian can introduce your students to discipline specific search strategies as well as guide them towards databases and library resources that researchers in your field typically use. This session focuses on using discipline-specific resources and strategies with the goal of completing a specific assignment.

This session will cover:

  • databases and search strategies

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will learn how to start research for a subject-specific seminar paper or lit review

While the previous option is intended to support students as they’re completing an assignment, this option of an overview is a more generic review of the scope and landscape of discipline tools and resources available to students. This session is ideal in a research methods seminar, or an introduction to the discipline course.

This session will cover:

  • subject tools and resources

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will be able to articulate at least one subject specific tool or resource for future use

The previous two options focus on the scope of resources available for students in your discipline, but this session offers technical skills for searching in several chosen databases. Each database that the University Libraries provides access for is unique and often the search interface offers options tailored to the content within that database. In this session, you and your subject librarian will choose two or three databases for your students to learn about. Your subject librarian will introduce your students to some of these platform-unique options and give them time to practice using them.

This session will cover:

  • advanced search strategies in one or two subject-specific databases

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will recognize different search strategies needed to retrieve appropriate resources in a subject-specific database

OneSearch is a very powerful search tool, but most students struggle with specificity because there is such a difference between search practices on the Internet and within a discovery tool like OneSearch. In this session, you and your subject librarian will set up to three advanced search skills for your students to learn. These can include using Boolean operators, identifying controlled vocabulary, executing wildcard searches, and how to conduct precision searches.

This session will cover:

Learning Outcomes

Upper-level majors and graduate students need to know which journals are important in their field and how to locate them. This is not as simple as it was in the past when all journals came in print and were physically housed in the library. Today, many journals are only published electronically, and many more have both print and electronic access. In this session, your subject librarian can teach your students how to identify journals in their field and then how to access them regardless of their format.

While on the surface source evaluation seems like a generic skill, it can get quite nuanced as students proceed into advanced research projects. Source evaluation is conditionally constructed according to the goal of the researcher. In this session, your subject librarian can guide your students through the critical practice of source evaluation based on criteria they will need either for a project in your class or as researchers in the field.

From Mendeley to ArcGIS to Tableau to TinkerCAD, the library provides access to an array of academic software applications that might be useful for your students to know. The librarians in your discipline are available to provide instructional support for these applications.

More about General Library Instruction


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A general library instruction session

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Mission, Goals, Program Learning Outcomes

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