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Faculty Toolkit

Research skills

Library teaching : research skills poster showing students describing the skills that help them research

Who Teaches Library Research?

Many faculty, across the disciplines, help students learn library research skills and practice them. Faculty librarians at Hostos support this effort in a number of ways:

  • Working with you to design and co-facilitate in-class workshops tailored to your research assignment and learning goals (please see below for examples of base models of workshops and how to request a workshop);
  • Providing low-stakes activity and lesson plan ideas that you can integrate into your curriculum (please see the Activities section of this guide).
  • Collaborating with you to create course-specific research guides;
  • Working with you to hone research assignment design;
  • Sharing with you information about the resources available to Hostos students at the library;
  • Offering individual guidance to students and answers to their research questions at the reference desk on the lower level of the library;

And we are always open to speaking with you to discuss other possibilities for collaboration.

Examples of "Base Models" of Workshops

To give you an idea of the kinds of workshops that we may suggest, here are several basic types that can be customized to your assignment and learning goals:

INTRODUCTORY RESEARCH SKILLS

Workshop example 1: Focusing a topic, differentiating among kinds of sources, and hands-on searching

  • Students will learn strategies that help them focus a big topic down to a researchable question of an appropriate scope, and identify key terms to use as starter fuel for their searching.

  • Students will engage in hands-on work to discern and articulate differences among the kinds of sources available to them (e.g., depending on the assignment: reference articles, books, news articles, primary sources, organizational websites, peer-reviewed articles) to consider when and how different sources might help them, depending on their question and where they are in the research process .

  • Students will conduct initial searches using library tools and resources and skim, evaluate, and select sources for later close reading.

  • Students will be introduced to the idea that research is iterative, and that every new piece of information should also spark new questions and may alter the trajectory of their searching.


Workshop example 2: Being a critical researcher on the internet

  • Critical thinking about internet sources means that students must go beyond simple binaries of “bad vs good" or "credible vs. unreliable" websites when weighing how much to trust a given site.

  • Students will engage in hands-on work to consider real-world factors such as reputation/credentials of the author, the inclusion/exclusion of points of view, level of bias in language, relative rhetorical strength of a persuasive argument, and the presence or lack of respected sources of evidence.

  • These concepts are presented in accessible ways, as questions to ask of every website: Who wrote this? What do other people in the field say about this author/institution? What, if anything, qualifies them to speak on this subject with authority? What points of view are/are not shown? Where did they get their information?

  • Students will also have the chance to articulate key terms relevant to their research assignment, and start hands-on searching for appropriate sources using those terms.


SPECIALIZED RESEARCH SKILLS

Workshop example 3: Exploring empirical articles
What is an empirical article, and what are the best ways to triage the results from a database list? What are strategies for sussing out quickly and effectively whether an article is appropriate to one’s research? Students (best for advanced classes) will have hands-on time learning the answers.

Workshop example 4: Using primary sources
What are differences between primary and secondary sources? Where can you find primary sources relevant to a given project? Depending on the kinds of sources used, this could be an introductory or advanced workshop


This list is not meant to be comprehensive – the best workshop is one that is tailored to supporting your assignment! We’d be glad to speak with you about possible options.

Library Workshop Request

If you would like an in-class research workshop, your department's liaison librarian and/or the library's teaching coordinator, Prof. Haruko Yamauchi, would be happy to speak with you about tailoring the workshop to support your research assignment and learning goals for your students. 

We request at least two weeks' notice before the date when you would like the workshop.

(1) Student learning goals 

Please describe your research assignment, including major deadlines (or just attach your syllabus, if it describes the assignment).

By the end of the semester, what do you expect students to know and be able to do regarding research?

(2) Logistical information 

  • Professor name:
  • Course and section:
  • Room number and day/time of class:
  • Is your classroom a smartroom (Y/N)?
  • Is your enrollment/expected attendance 25 or more?

Please note that for classes over 25, we may need to make reservations for smartrooms, computer labs, COWS, and/or projectors, which are all subject to availability – advance notice helps our chances.

We look forward to collaborating with you!

Library Research Help via Blackboard

Work with us to customize the "Library Research Help" guide in your Blackboard course!

To provide students with 24/7 support online, all student instances of Blackboard now include a "Library Research Help" link in their menu.

When an individual professor has worked with a librarian to create an assignment-specific guide, that guide will appear when students in that class click the research help link. If there is no assignment-specific guide for that class, a discipline-specific research help guide may appear. Finally, if there is no assignment- or discipline-specific guide, the default our Research 101 guide will appear.

If you are interested in a customized approach, please contact your liaison librarian.