One of the many services Off Campus Library Services promotes is the creation of custom research guides.

If you do not know what a research guide is then you will not be likely to request one or send your students to OCLS to request one.

One can liken a research guide to giving a student specific directions to locate water in the desert.

Free image: Camel Tour in Desert, DubaiOftentimes a student identifies their topic for research only to discover they have no idea where to begin finding resources on that topic. The research guide is written specifically for the student, using their topic.  For example, a student knows they want to write a paper on authentic leadership. That is as far as they can get because from all the resources available in OCLS they do not know where to begin. A librarian would take their topic and create a step by step guide that will give them options for discovering articles (full-text and peer-reviewed) and books on their topic.

One can liken a research guide to giving a student specific directions to locate water in the desert that the student will have to carefully follow to get to the water sources. Then they have to discern the safety of the water and begin drinking. The research guide gives students all the steps they need to locate articles but the student will need to follow the written instructions and then begin to discern the best articles to use for their research per the assignment guidelines. The format of the research guide varies from librarian to librarian but the goal is to give the steps a student can follow to locate resources on their specific topic.

Question:  What have been your students’ experiences with using Research Guides to help find resources for their topics?  Please leave a comment below.

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