Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Research Projects: You’ve got this!

Many of your professors have begun to assign research projects. Along with the details of the actual assignment you may have heard words like information literacy and the research process. These words are often unfamiliar and can awaken the voice in your head. This voice is loud, laced with a touch of sarcasm and a smattering of doubt. It makes you feel like there is no way that you're ever going to get this. The voice is relentless and it fills your head with exclamatory questions like:
Research Project!?
Information what!?
Due when!?
10 pages!?

Surprise!! It isn’t just you…we all hear that voice but I am here to tell you that you’ve got this? How do I know? Am I psychic or something? I assure you I do not moonlight as a fortuneteller. I know because you already possess the basic information literacy skills you need to succeed. If you are still a little unsure, please…read on.

Everyday problem #1: Sell the heap and buy a Jeep!
You want to buy a Jeep. But first you need to determine the trade in value of your current vehicle?
You would… Google it and choose a site that looks useful from the results list or go directly to the Kelly Blue Book or Edmonds website, enter the information about your current car and presto! 
-I swear I do not own a crystal ball.-

Everyday problem #2: Rid yourself of the rash before your friends call the health department.
You have ignored it long enough and are now desperate to diagnose the weird rash on your arm?
You could take a picture of it and send it to your Mom (gotta love your Mom) but then you think, “Nah, maybe I should just Google it”. You might choose a medical website from the results list or go directly to WebMD. After reviewing WebMD you will need to make a decision on what actions to take, visit your doctor, explain to your roommate that it is not catchy and/or pick up some hydrocortisone crème at the drug store.
-Problem solved…fist pump!-

The scenarios above describe the process followed by information literate people in order to solve everyday problems. The definition of Information Literacy is a set of abilities requiring individuals to "recognize when information is needed and to have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information."

Knowing where to start, how to find, evaluate and use the information is proof that you are information literate. The truth is in your life, you have used information literacy skills to solve countless everyday problems.

Formal research (like the research projects assigned by your professors) requires you to follow the same process and to use the best tools available. These tools include library catalogs, interlibrary loan services, credible websites, online databases, videos, podcasts, twitter and more.

Some of you may not be familiar with using these tools but never fear Reeve’s librarians are here. Feel free to call, email, stop by, chat with us online or schedule an appointment with us. We will be happy to help you with your research needs. Don’t forget to check out our Meet Reeves-Student Guide and the tutorials on our YouTube channel.  You’ve got this!

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