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Library Research Skills Instruction

Vassar Librarians can teach your students to understand and use information resources. We can help you design effective research assignments, and ensure that the library has the research materials that you and your students need.

Topics We Cover

We can teach your students about information organization, evaluation, and retrieval, including:

  • how information is generated and disseminated
  • understanding and distinguishing between primary and secondary sources
  • information quality issues and the difference between scholarly and popular sources
  • using the Library's catalog and other important catalogs
  • developing and executing effective search strategies in subject-appropriate databases
  • how to obtain full-text content and use interlibrary loan services

We can also teach your students reference management, including:

  • managing and storing references using bibliographic management tools like RefWorks
  • generating formatted bibliographies with RefWorks

Please contact the liaison for your department to discuss the instruction services you would like us to provide for your students.

Our Instruction Offerings


Class Instruction
At your request, librarians can use one of your class periods to teach information skills to your students. This session can be held in the library classroom where there are facilities for hands-on training or we can come to your classroom.

♦ Course-Integrated Instruction
We can work with you to plan a variety of library research training sessions throughout the semester, so that a research project and the corresponding library skills can be broken into more manageable units. This allows the student research and library training to be more integrated so that learning takes place at the point of need.

We can prepare and present workshops that students can attend outside of class. Workshops we've done in the past include thesis research skills, reference management skills, and science writing skills. Let us know if you would like us to offer your students a workshop on one of these topics, or another topic.

♦ Individual and Group Research Consultations
We are available for one-on-one research consultations to help students and groups with specific research projects. Please encourage your students to use this service -- it is often the most effective way for us to help them. There is a form students can fill out to request a consultation.

Instruction for Faculty Research Assistants
The library liaison for your department/program can provide training and help to your research assistants as they assist you in compiling materials, preparing bibliographies, etc. There is a form your assistant can fill out to request help.

Training in Archives and Special Collections
Each semester faculty from a variety of departments and programs bring their classes to Archives and Special Collections. These visits provide an opportunity for students to interact with some of the college's most treasured sources, and to learn how to use rare books, manuscripts, and archives in their research. Because of the extensive holding in Archives and Special Collections, classes can be offered on a wide range of topics. Library staff can retrieve relevant materials for classes, and are also available to give lectures to classes. To arrange for a visit, or to discuss classroom possibilities, contact Ron Patkus at extension 5798, or email


♦ Online Course Guides
Vassar Librarians can prepare a resource guide, specific to your course, that can be linked directly from your Moodle site. These guides direct students to the specific resources relevant to course material and assignments. Here are some examples:

♦ Online Subject Guides
We can also prepare more general guides that cover resources in a subject area. In fact, we already have subject guides for many academic departments at Vassar, and we encourage you to link to these in your Moodle site. Here are some examples:

Online Handouts
We can prepare take-away handouts for your students that provide tips for navigating information sources and constructing searches. You can also link to PDF versions of the handouts on your Moodle site. Here are some examples: