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Information Literacy at Messiah University: Instruction Menu

Describes the information literacy program at Messiah College

Best Practices for Library Instruction

Please consider these best practices to create a valuable session for your students:

1. Library instruction should occur at the point of need in a course.

2. Students should come prepared with research topics.

3. Please connect the information literacy learning objectives (located on the right) and student needs with your liaison librarian prior to instruction.

Your librarian is excited to work with you to deliver critical information literacy instruction to your students.

Request Instruction From Your Liaison Librarian

Contact your liaison librarian directly to arrange information literacy and library research instruction for your class.


Select an Instruction Session that Aligns With Your Curriculum

Construct a research question or thesis statement. Suggested time: 10-15 minutes

  • Discuss assignment.
  • Discuss topic formation.
  • Discuss information hierarchies; is the topic too broad or too narrow?
  • Demonstrate tools that can help during the topic formation process.
  • Explore topics through library databases; databases may help to guide and refine research topics.


Create a literature review. Suggested time: 20-30 minutes

  • Discuss structure of a literature review.
  • Use subject-specific databases to find appropriate resources.
  • Review primary and secondary research and differences between them. Definitions of primary and secondary research are discipline-specific.
  • Demonstrate and practice citation mining.
  • Discuss extent of literature review (how to know when to stop).

Use subject-specific databases. Suggested time: 15-30 minutes

Librarian-Led (Potential Activities) Instructor-Led (Suggested Activities)
  • Review appropriate subject page
  • Choose appropriate database
  • Determine appropriate search strategies
  • Search for library resource
  • Access relevant library resource
  • Watch video about search strategies
  • Watch video about searching/accessing
  • Watch video about library databases
  • Review appropriate subject page
  • Student selects and summarizes database
  • Student searches database. Describe strategy
  • Student selects relevant resource. Post citation


Locate and access full-text articles and books from citations Suggested time: 5-10 minutes

Librarian-Led (Potential Activities) Instructor-Led (Suggested activities)
  • Discover relevant item through bibliography.
  • Determine the format of the item (book or journal article).
  • Search for item in appropriate finding tool such as library catalog or Journal Titles A-Z.
  • Locate item and access item.
  • Request item through interlibrary loan when appropriate.
  • Watch instruction video.about how to access items from citations
  • Ask student to find article from provided citation while recording screencast.
  • Student uploads screencast showing completion of activity.


Use ebooks from the library collection. Suggested time: 15-20 minutes

  • Review relevant ebook collections.
  • Search library catalog and/or ebook databases for relevant ebooks.
  • Open ebook.
  • Read ebook through browser.
  • Select chapter.
  • Search ebook.
  • Create account in ebook database.
  • Add to Bookshelf.
  • Annotate and notate within ebook.
  • Print selection.
  • Download to laptop or tablet.


Locate and access statistics. Suggested time: 15-20 minutes

  • Access and review statistics page on the library.
  • Determine appropriate statistics resource.
  • Search for and access appropriate statistical information.


Place appropriate interlibrary loan requests. Suggested time: 10-15 minutes

  • Locate needed item through database or WorldCat.
  • Access ILLIAD account.
  • Request item through proper form in ILLIAD account.
  • Explain how to access item after it is received from lending library.


Explore multiple perspectives on controversial issues. Suggested time: 15-20 minutes

Librarian-Led (Potential Activities) Instructor-Led (Suggested Activities)
  • Demonstrate Opposing Viewpoints database
  • Discuss need to explore multiple sides, not just one side
  • Workshop time to explore database with research topic
  • Watch video about Opposing Viewpoints
  • Students explore OV database with research topic
  • Complete discussion board post identifying at least two essays with multiple or opposing perspectives. Explain how to use both essays within research assignment
  • Cite essays correctly


Identify scholarly resources. Suggested time: 15-20 minutes

  • Describe the scholarly process and peer review.
  • Distinguish between scholarly, credible, and popular resources.
  • Distinguish between primary and secondary research, as defined by the discipline.


Evaluate websites and other resources for appropriate academic use. Suggested time: 15-20 minutes

  • Describe evaluation criteria.
  • Analyze website content or other resource for academic use.
  • Describe appropriate academic uses of social websites such as Wikipedia.
  • Complete resource evaluation form.


Identify and avoid predatory publishers. Suggested time: 10-15 minutes (more if discussion desired)

Librarian-Led (Potential Activities) Instructor-Led (Suggested Activities)
  • Explain predatory publishing
  • Show example
  • Identify red flags to consider and evaluate
  • Discussion if instructor desires
  • Watch video about predatory publishing
  • Watch video about unintended consequences of mandatory repositories of federally funded research
  • Student search general web for research topic
  • Identify one quality item and one item from potential predatory publisher
  • Explain evaluation criteria


Implement and use citation management software. Suggested time: 30-45 minutes

Librarian-Led (Potential Activities) Instructor-Led (Suggested Activities)
  • Review citation management software options (if not already selected). Choose the most appropriate citation management tool for discipline and/or project.
  • Create account and/or download software.
  • Save citation information and article pdfs from catalog and databases to software.
  • Create bibliographies through software.
  • Explore word-processing software features such as in-text citations.
  • Demonstrate inaccuracies of software and need to review and correct citations.
  • Watch video about citation management software (Zotero)
  • Ask students to download software and create accounts following instructions. (Zotero instructions)
  • If software is not required, instead survey students about whether they plan to adopt new software

Cite sources properly in appropriate citation style. Suggested time: 15-30 minutes

Practice academic integrity and avoid plagiarism. Suggested time: 15-20 minutes

  • Review academic integrity policy.
  • Discuss examples of paraphrasing, summarizing and quoting.
  • Review citation style guidelines for citing sources properly.


Cite sources properly in appropriate citation style. Suggested time: 15-30 minutes

  • Access online and/or print citation style manual.
  • Review rules for citing specific source types.
  • Create citations based on rules in citation manual.
  • Review and correct citations.


Use and share items appropriately within copyright law. Suggested time: 30 minutes

  • Review copyright law.
  • Review fair use rules.
  • Review copyright page on college website.
  • Discuss appropriate and relevant FAQs on Copyright webpage.
  • Discuss scenarios and propose solutions.