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Teaching Information Literacy Skills to Sophomore-Level Biology Majors

    Authors: Leigh Thompson1,*, Lisa Ann Blankinship2
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    Affiliations: 1: Collier Library, University of North Alabama, Florence, AL 35632; 2: Department of Biology, University of North Alabama, Florence, AL 35632
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Published 01 May 2015
    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: Collier Library, Instructional Services Librarian, University of North Alabama, UNA Box 5028, Florence, AL 35632-0001. Phone: 256-765-4466. Fax: 256-765-4438. E-mail: dlthompson@una.edu.
    • ©2015 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2015 vol. 16 no. 1 29-33. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v16i1.818
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    Abstract:

    Many undergraduate students lack a sound understanding of information literacy. The skills that comprise information literacy are particularly important when combined with scientific writing for biology majors as they are the foundation skills necessary to complete upper-division biology course assignments, better train students for research projects, and prepare students for graduate and professional education. To help undergraduate biology students develop and practice information literacy and scientific writing skills, a series of three one-hour hands-on library sessions, discussions, and homework assignments were developed for Biological Literature, a one-credit, one-hour-per-week, required sophomore-level course. The embedded course librarian developed a learning exercise that reviewed how to conduct database and web searches, the difference between primary and secondary sources, source credibility, and how to access articles through the university’s databases. Students used the skills gained in the library training sessions for later writing assignments including a formal lab report and annotated bibliography. By focusing on improving information literacy skills as well as providing practice in scientific writing, Biological Literature students are better able to meet the rigors of upper-division biology courses and communicate research findings in a more professional manner.

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References & Citations

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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v16i1.818
2015-05-01
2017-11-24

Abstract:

Many undergraduate students lack a sound understanding of information literacy. The skills that comprise information literacy are particularly important when combined with scientific writing for biology majors as they are the foundation skills necessary to complete upper-division biology course assignments, better train students for research projects, and prepare students for graduate and professional education. To help undergraduate biology students develop and practice information literacy and scientific writing skills, a series of three one-hour hands-on library sessions, discussions, and homework assignments were developed for Biological Literature, a one-credit, one-hour-per-week, required sophomore-level course. The embedded course librarian developed a learning exercise that reviewed how to conduct database and web searches, the difference between primary and secondary sources, source credibility, and how to access articles through the university’s databases. Students used the skills gained in the library training sessions for later writing assignments including a formal lab report and annotated bibliography. By focusing on improving information literacy skills as well as providing practice in scientific writing, Biological Literature students are better able to meet the rigors of upper-division biology courses and communicate research findings in a more professional manner.

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