Assessment "à la Carte": Using Small-scale Citation Analysis Projects to Shape Library Instruction
Michigan Library Association, Academic Libraries Conference
East Lansing, MI
ABSTRACT: Intrigued by the possibilities of citation analysis, but uncertain how to create an achievable small scale project using a methodology that is traditionally rather labor intensive? This session will discuss two different projects in which citation analysis was used as a means for shaping library instruction for specific courses. By examining particularly students' website choices, the presenters were able to make informed changes to their sessions based on the feedback from citation analysis.
FULL DESCRIPTION: Citation analysis has been a long established and valued means of assessing the effectiveness of a library's collection effectiveness and its impact on student research behavior. This session will discuss two different ways in which citation analysis was used as a method for shaping library instruction for specific courses. The first presenter will share how he expanded the standard practice of collecting student research topics by asking students to cite, annotate, and defend their “two top sources”— all before their first library session. From this, he was able to not only prepare relevant search examples (as per usual), but more importantly, enter the session with fresh insights to students’ existing research habits and a greater understanding of their source selection and evaluation skills. For her project, the second presenter analyzed the source choices in student art history survey research papers, particularly the students' website selections. The data was used to inform and craft a more nuanced discussion of website evaluation in the library session for the course and to measure the impact of a new discovery service. In both cases, the librarians were able to make informed changes to their sessions based on the feedback from citation analysis. While recognizing that broadly applicable citation data is more likely to be collected in larger, multi-course or multi-institutional projects, this talk will demonstrate the place that small-scale, ad hoc citation analysis can have in the crafting of library instruction sessions and assessment of student research skills, for those looking for achievable projects at their own institutions.
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