Understanding how to find and use information is crucial to lifelong learning and critical thinking. SMU Libraries supports the development and empowerment of independent users and creators of information through multi-modal information and data literacy instruction.
Research is a complex task that requires a range of skills and understanding specific to the context. As new entrants to a discipline, students experience and understand research very differently than faculty.
- Our approach to instruction is grounded in the student experience of research and information use.
- We teach the thinking behind doing research so that students are prepared to transfer their learning after the assignment is complete.
- We break down and explicitly teach the different aptitudes students need to be successful.
Our instructional programming ranges from information literacy for first year and disciplinary courses, scholarly communication, primary source literacy, special collections, data literacy, project planning, geospatial analysis, and digital scholarship.
Librarians collaborate with faculty to deliver instruction sessions. Sessions are held in your classroom, in one of our library classrooms, or through Zoom. Schedule a session customized to the specific needs of your course or choose a topic.
Get expert insight from your librarian to ensure your research assignments match your instructional goals and our collections. Our Research Assignment Design Guide has tips for creating assignments that prioritize your learning outcomes, focus on the research and writing process, and scaffold learning.
Research Assignment Stipend
Apply for a $1000 Research Assignment Stipend to develop an assignment with a librarian and faculty cohort.
Targeted Research Assistance
Students and faculty can get immediate help through email or chat. For more in-depth help, librarians are available for one-on-one research appointments in person or through Zoom. Undergraduate students can receive drop-in help with a librarian and a writing tutor at the Research & Writing Lab.
Encourage your students to make use of these services by including a statement on your syllabus, such as the one below.
Guides, Tutorials, and Workshops
SMU Libraries provide ready-made or customized instructional resources that can be easily incorporated into your course.
- Research Guides by Subject offer librarian recommendations for research and resources in your discipline.
- How Do I...? Guides offer practical advice for accomplishing research. They include links to resources, workshop recordings, and tutorials.
- Information and data literacy tutorials in Canvas are created by SMU Libraries on topics such as finding information, reading a scholarly article, data basics, and knowing when and how to cite. You can import tutorials into your course or students can find them in the writing and research course on their dashboard.
- Workshops are held in-person and online throughout the academic year. Groups of four or more students may request a workshop by contacting their librarian.
Library Instruction in First-Year WRTR Courses
WRTR classes not only emphasize effective writing and communication, but they also serve as an introduction to research and information literacy. Students learn subject-specific research tools and practices in disciplinary courses.
Students are introduced to:
- Understanding the value of scholarly argument and conversation,
- Understanding the research process of exploring and refining a research question,
- Evaluating the usefulness of a source based on its relevance to the research question, its authority, and the context of the assignment,
- Using a variety of general information search tools, and
- Developing successful academic habits, including note taking, academic reading and help seeking.