New course at SPSCC: Introduction to Research

Starting winter quarter, SPSCC will offer a new course: LIB 101, Introduction to Research. It is a one-credit, online class on research techniques, providing students with “librarians’ ‘tricks of the trade,’” said Sarah Kaip, faculty librarian and instructor of the course.

Coursework will include advanced search strategies, deciphering credible information and how to cite sources.

Kaip often teaches one-time, 50-minute research lessons to classes upon the request of the professor. So, the course was developed in response to students’ growing need for research skills.

“A lot of students simply don’t know where the good information is or how to get it. The information is almost always out there; students just need the skills to dig it up,” said Kaip.

For example, there is a research paper contest in the spring for students who received an “A” on their paper, judged solely on the bibliographies. Kaip said even good students “choose flimsy sources” and improperly format their bibliographies.

The coursework for Introduction to Research could sometimes connect with work from other classes, said Kaip. If a student is working on a paper for a different class, they would potentially be able to also use that paper to complete work for the research course.

The course is especially recommended for students planning to transfer to a four-year school where the databases and library resources are significantly more complex than those at SPSCC, said Kaip.

Kaip said she has encountered a lot of interest among students while promoting the course. Many students have expressed the wish that a comparable course would have been offered when they first started taking classes at SPSCC, said Kaip.

Additional sections of the course may be added in the future in response to overall student interest.
Kaip will measure the immediate success of the course through the response of other professors and whether or not they are happy with the new sources students use.

“Ultimately, we hope to make a more robust information literacy program at SPSCC that would reach all students,” said Kaip.