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Information Literacy Habits of Mind (HOMs) Toolkit: Inquiry

CCL HOM: Inquiry

Clearly define a research or information need based on a correct interpretation of assignment parameters and develop basic strategies (e.g., defining keyword terms, selecting article databases) to begin an effective research process.

Inquiry Is...

  • Interpreting assignments
  • Determining information needs
  • Developing a research strategy, question(s), and/or thesis
  • Preliminarily selecting research tools and sources


SYR Begin Research Module

Begin Research Tutorial

First Year Worksheet

HOM Covered: Arguably all five.

This worksheet can be the basis of a one-shot lesson plan.

Creative Commons License Info

Creative Commons License
Information Literacy Habits of Mind Toolkit by Claremont Colleges Libraries is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 United States License.

Become a Database Superuser!

The documents below originated as handouts for Love Your Library workshops that Kirsten Hansen conducted about using specific science databases. However, each handout can be used as a standalone or as part of an information literacy class session. Though the handouts are database-specific, the steps in each handout walk students through the process of creating a solid search and can be easily edited to suit other databases. I have included both pdfs as well as Word docs. In my LYL workshops, I have used these handouts an an adjunct to my demonstration at the front of the room but I imagine they might work for an active learning exercise in which groups of students rotate through one portion of the process before handing it off to the next group, so that by the end of the exercise, a full search has been done by the class as a whole.

Selected Learning Outcomes

  • Students will define or modify the information need to achieve a managable focus.
  • Students will identify keywords, synonyms, and related terms for the information needed.
  • Students will identify a variety of types and formats of potential sources of information.

Choosing a Topic

HOM Covered: Inquiry

Instructions to librarian: This handout leads students through the process of authentic topic selection. By following this flow chart, students will be encouraged to choose a paper topic that genuinely interests them, leading to increased engagement with the assignment. Before using this handout, consider modeling this process to the students using their assignment as an example.

Defining Your Information Need

HOM Covered: Inquiry

Instructions to librarian: This box can be copied into a course LibGuide. Ask students to consider this chart prior to searching for information. Consider having students pair and share, going through an example/student topic with the whole class or having students work through chart prior to an instruction session. Teach types of sources within the context of the chart.

Defining Your Information Need (more detailed chart)

HOM Covered: Inquiry

Instructions to librarian: This box can be copied into a course LibGuide. Ask students to consider this chart prior to searching for information. Consider having students pair and share, going through an example/student topic with the whole class or having students work through chart prior to an instruction session. Consider teaching types of sources (bonus: cover evaluation, too) within the context of the chart.

Boolean Operator Video Playlist

HOM Covered: Inquiry

Instructions to librarian: You can copy this box to a LibGuide to place the current playlist of Boolean operator videos. As more videos are added, they will automatically be added to this playlist. If you would like to embed a single video (not the whole playlist) and need assistance, please contact Dani. Additionally, you can access all the videos by clicking on the YouTube icon on the video.

Generating Keywords

HOM Covered: Inquiry

Instructions to librarian: This handout can be used as an option for brainstorming keywords through concept mapping. It could also be used as a jumping-off point for more complicated concept-mapping endeavors.

Modeling breaking a research question into keywords

In this activity, the librarian writes a sample research question on the board and asks students to help break the research question into keywords, synonyms, and related terms. As students give suggestions, the librarian circles keywords, writes related terms, and makes additional suggestions. This activity is best used before the keyword worksheet/keyword concept map and after the HeadsUp activity. For more, see the Teaching Module.

Explaining Keywords with HeadsUp

The HeadsUp game is played using Powerpoint and challenges students to help two student volunteers with their backs to the board guess the words on the Powerpoint behind them. The game is best used at the beginning of a class focused on keywords and research questions and is a fun, interactive way to get students thinking about the keywords and related terms for their research question. For more on how to use HeadUp in your class, seeing the Teaching Module above.

Broadening and Narrowing Your Topic

HOM Covered: Inquiry

Instructions to librarian: These two handouts can be used to get students to think more broadly and more narrowly about their topics. What are broader questions that they could ask about a narrow topic? What are narrower questions that could be asked about a broad topic? The handouts encourage students to think about breaking down their topic into constituent parts (as well as what disciplines might study them), and to see that their topic fits within a constellation of possible research questions. Finally, you can encourage them to think about finding a "Goldilocks" fit for their topic: Not too broad to be unanswerable, but not too narrow as to not find any supporting research.

Reflecting on Resources

HOM covered: Inquiry

Instructions to librarians:

Have students write a one minute paper reflecting on how they have located resources in the past and to think about what went right, where they had challenges.

Have students pair up and share what they wrote with their partners.

 

Reflecting on Your Skills as a Researcher

HOM Covered: Inquiry

Instructions to librarian:

Hand out notecards and ask students to do a quick reflection on these two questions:

What are you good at as a researcher?

What has been frustrating?

You can then have students pair and share or share out with the group, or both

Exploring databases with Google Docs

This activity gives students the opportunity to explore databases in small groups in a structured and accountable way. For full instructions, see the teaching module below.

Keywords and Databases Lesson Plan template

If you want to incorporate some or all of the keywords activities listed above, or want to see how they look in a lesson plan. Check out the doc below. Feel free to adapt, remix, swap activities in and out as you wish.(Note: this lesson plan is geared towards a first year seminar class.)