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Engaging undergraduates in discipline‐based research

Heidi Gauder (Roesch Library, University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio, USA)
Fred Jenkins (Roesch Library, University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio, USA)

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Article publication date: 11 May 2012




This article aims to describe the standards‐based approach used to build the International Studies Research Methods (INS250) course, a discipline‐specific, credit‐based class taught by librarians. This writing‐intensive course emphasizes information literacy and critical thinking skills, which were developed using written assignments, class presentations, multiple assessment methods, and web‐based applications.


This paper will review the literature about discipline‐specific, credit‐based information literacy (IL) courses and outcomes. It will also analyze the INS250 course structure and map ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education to learning outcomes for the course.


The paper finds that, in the absence of discipline‐specific information literacy standards, the ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education can serve as a starting point for International Studies course outcomes and assessment. Other assessment approaches, specifically student workshops and concept maps, promote student engagement and provide ample evidence of student learning.


This article will identify research skills needed by International Studies majors and students in similar multidisciplinary programs. It will serve as a model of how to build a credit‐based course with application to other fields such as political science, sustainability, human rights and international business. The course is student‐focused and responsive to new disciplines and areas, with an emphasis on disciplinary databases, search skills, and citation skills.



Gauder, H. and Jenkins, F. (2012), "Engaging undergraduates in discipline‐based research", Reference Services Review, Vol. 40 No. 2, pp. 277-294.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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