Thursday, February 07, 2013

The Hardest Part of Research for Students

In the fall, I put up a feedback poster (previous feedback posters mentioned here and here) that asked students to complete the phrase: The hardest part of research is...

The responses were unsurprising:

I was able to roughly categorize almost all of the responses into the following categories:
  • Getting started: “knowing where to begin,” “starting it,” “the beginning”
  • Avoiding distractions: “ignoring the cat”
  • Locating information: “looking for articles” or “navigating research terms to find the best results”
  • Evaluating information: “being critical about your sources/citations” and “sorting the wheat from the chaff”
  • Organizing sources: “keeping everything organized”
  • Procrastination: “turning on self-control” and “calculating how long you can procrastinate until the situation becomes desperate”
  • Writing the paper: “write up the paper” and “editing”
We then used this as an opportunity to inform students that librarians can help with many of these things.  For the others - procrastination and writing the paper - we directed them to another department called the PACE Center, which offers procrastination and time management workshops, as well as tutoring and writing assistance. 

We posted our response on our blog and in print on the window where the above poster was previously located.  I meant to put it on our Facebook page but since I queued the blog post to go live at a later date, I forgot. 

Speaking of which, is there a good way to tie social media together?  Perhaps some sort of tool?  It used to be that our blog could feed directly into Facebook, but then Facebook removed that feature.  It's time consuming to remember to post these things in several locations, so I'm open to any and all suggestions!

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