Library Instruction

LIS 1001 - Library Research Methods and Materials: Course Objectives

The amount of information today is growing at an incredible rate. The different ways of accessing this information are also growing and becoming more complex. In order to conduct research, today's college student needs a wide array of skills from critical thinking to information technology skills. LSU's LIS 1001 class, "Library Research Methods and Materials," is designed to introduce students to the basics of these information literacy skills.

The following general outline lists the skills that students learn in LIS 1001. It is based on the ALA Association of College and Research Libraries' "Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education." Due to time constraints of this one-credit class, LIS 1001 is not able to cover every single standard. Different topics may also be stressed in different sections of the class.

The information literate student:

  1. Determines the nature and extent of the information needed.
    1. Defines and articulates the need for information
      Topics covered in class may include:
      • Determining the amount and type of information needed
      • Broadening/narrowing research topics to an appropriate level
      • Identification of key concepts and search terms
    2. Identifies a variety of types and formats of potential sources of information.
      Types of information sources covered may include:
      • General and subject-focused sources
      • Statistics
      • Government Documents
      • Periodical Literature
      • Scholarly v. Popular Literature
      • Primary v. Secondary Literature
      • Reference Sources (such as almanacs, atlases, bibliographies, etc.)
      • Formats of information sources covered may include:
      • Print
      • Micro-format
      • Audio
      • Visual
      • Electronic (such as e-books, e-journals, full-text databases, etc.)
    3. Considers the costs and benefits of acquiring the needed information.
      Topics covered in class may include:
      • Determining the availability of information (print and online)
      • Interlibrary Borrowing
      • Free information on the web versus information on the web that the library pays for
    4. Reevaluates the nature and extent of the information needed.
      Topics covered in class may include:
      • Re-evaluation of search topic based on the initial amount of information found

  2. Accesses needed information effectively and efficiently.
    1. Selects the most appropriate investigative methods or information retrieval systems for accessing the needed information.
      Topics covered in class may include:
      • The major disciplines of knowledge and the subjects included in each one.
      • Selection of the appropriate information seeking tool (eg: online catalog, journal indexes, web search engines, etc.)
      • Different types of research (eg: literature research, lab experiments, fieldwork, etc.)
    2. Constructs and implements effectively-designed search strategies.
      Topics covered in class may include:
      • Subject versus keyword searching
      • Keyword searching techniques
      • Searchable fields
      • Basic and advanced search modes
    3. Retrieves information online or in person using a variety of methods.
      Topics covered in class may include:
      • Online catalog, journal indexes, and other information-seeking tools
      • Basic search functions and their application to databases with different interfaces
      • Different types of libraries and the different types of information found in them
      • Various service points in most libraries
      • Citations and obtaining the sources they refer to
      • Various classification schemes such as Library of Congress, Dewey, and Superintendent of Documents
    4. Refines the search strategy if necessary.
      Topics covered in class may include:
      • Quality, quantity, and relevance of search results.
      • Revision of the search methods as needed.
    5. Extracts, records, and manages the information and its sources.
      Topics covered in class may include:
      • Purpose and formats of proper citations
      • Various methods of saving the information found (eg: downloading, emailing, printing, etc.)

  3. Evaluates information and its sources critically and incorporates selected information into his or her knowledge base and value system.
    • Applies initial criteria for evaluating both the information and its sources.
      Topics covered in class may include:
      • Evaluation of information resources for their reliability, validity, accuracy, authority, currency, bias, etc.

  4. Individually or as a member of a group, uses information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose.
    • This ALA standard is not covered. Due to time constraints, LIS 1001 concentrates on teaching students how to conduct research and find information, not how to write research papers.

  5. Understands many of the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information and accesses and uses information ethically and legally.
    1. Understands many of the ethical, legal and socio-economic issues surrounding information and information technology
      Topics covered in class may include:
      • Copyright, intellectual property, etc.
      • Government Depository Program, Freedom of Information Act, etc.
    2. Follows laws, regulations, institutional policies, and etiquette related to the access and use of information resources.
      Topics covered in class may include:
      • Plagiarism
    3. Acknowledges the use of information sources in communicating the product or performance.
      Topics covered in class may include:
      • Variety of citation styles for proper documentation of sources.