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Research Guides

INFO 2010: Information Literacy in the Disciplines

This guide contains some of the readings for INFO 2010: Information Literacy in the Disciplines.

Planning and Researching in Your Discipline

In library science, we often look to the information literacy framework provided by Association of College and Research Libraries. An important element of that framework is the idea of "searching as strategic exploration." Essentially, searching is a kind of exploration. Imagine that you are going with some friends to explore an unfamiliar patch of woods. You will discover unexpected things along the way--wildlife, perhaps, or different kinds of trees and landmarks.

However, to make the most of your exploration you will always want to go in with some kind of preparation--a map, perhaps, or tools for navigating. You are being strategic in your approach to make sure the exploration is fruitful and engaging, rather than frustrating and full of dead ends.

The research process might look a little different depending on which discipline you are working in, and the resources used will ideally be specific to that field. However, the research practices you will learn in this module can apply across all disciplines and represent best practices for strategic searching.

Remember that books, databases, articles,  and so on are usually written and structured to fit the needs of a specific audience. A nursing database is likely to house documents and sources that are very different from a business database, for instance. Knowing where to go to find information specific to your arena of study is a vital skill. Searching for resources can be a joyful process of exploration and serendipity. However, it helps to make that exploration strategic through the use of relevant databases and tools for your discipline.

In this module, you will read more on the idea of searching as strategic exploration, and you will be introduced to the library's databases, including database filters and search tools that will help you locate your best resource options. Many disciplines and majors come with a research guide designed specifically by specialty librarians to guide you through research tools and practices specific to your discipline. You will be able to make use of your specific research guide to help you find the best fit for your information needs. Employ strategic searching to find what you need, and allow your process to evolve through the course of searching.