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Preparing graduate students for graduate‐level study and research

Katherine O'Clair (Robert E. Kennedy Library, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, California, USA)

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Article publication date: 7 June 2013



This paper aims to describe a graduate level course in information research for thesis‐based Master's degree students in the College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences at California Polytechnic State University for which the College Librarian served as the instructor of record. It also seeks to report the results of research conducted to investigate the impact of the course and its effect on graduate student confidence and preparedness.


Questionnaires were used to measure student perception of their confidence and preparedness for graduate study and research before and after completing a for‐credit course.


Students' self‐perceived levels of confidence and preparedness increased after taking the course. Most felt the course was useful and the content would help them to complete their theses more efficiently and effectively. The majority of students also completed the administrative tasks that are required for graduate‐level study.


For‐credit, course‐based information literacy instruction is common for undergraduates at institutions throughout the US, yet similar offerings for graduate students are rare. Graduate students have specific information needs that require a particular set of skills. A for‐credit course designed to meet the needs of graduate students is an effective way to prepare students. Research conducted in conjunction with the offering of this course examines the impact on graduate students' self‐perceived confidence and preparedness.



O'Clair, K. (2013), "Preparing graduate students for graduate‐level study and research", Reference Services Review, Vol. 41 No. 2, pp. 336-350.



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