MU Libraries brings back Research Smarter, Not Harder workshop series for spring semester

These workshops aim to help students and faculty familiarize themselves with various databases and provide basic tutorials regarding research.

MU Libraries has brought back the Research Smarter, Not Harder: Fridays @ the Library Workshops for the spring 2018 semester.

Every semester, workshops are held on Fridays at Ellis Library to promote better research skills among students and faculty by helping them navigate the resources and databases the library has to offer.

Joe Askins, head of MU Libraries Instructional Services, said there is a different topic every week that is not designed for any specific class, so anyone can come in and learn the basic functions of various databases that may be useful for a class assignment.

“It’s my responsibility to identify topics and themes that would make for good workshops, find the appropriate librarians (or faculty, staff, and/or students) to present those workshops and put together the schedule,” Askins said in an email.

The first workshop of the semester — “Finding Government Statistics for Your Research Project” — was held Jan. 26. The presentation was led by Marie Concannon, head of government information and data archives at MU Libraries.

College of Education graduate student Dena Lane-Bonds attended the first workshop. She decided to come after initially having trouble finding government data for her research project and found the workshop very informative.

“I began to look at different education data that can actually tabulate the data for you instead of you going through different statistical packages, so knowing that option is available is something I took away,” Lane-Bonds said.

The workshops also allow people to register to attend online and ask questions via live chat.

“They can just log in and watch the presentation and listen in real time, so they don’t even have to be in the building, and we have a lot of participants who decide to attend that way,” Askins said.

A later workshop in the series will cover finding health literature and will be presented by health sciences information services librarian Rebecca Graves. Askins said Graves is holding it at Ellis Library because some of the things she’s teaching might be of interest to people outside of the health science and medical fields.

“So, let’s say you are a business student, but you might have reason to find literature in health sciences, and so this workshop would be beneficial,” Askins said. “You would maybe never get that type of instruction in your business class.”

Askins said there was good feedback from students last semester as they helped come up with new ideas. Some suggestions were to hold multiple workshops for the same database with a different range of research skills instead of just holding an introductory-level workshop for that particular database.

Askins said he would like to see the series continue to expand with research topics and presentations that would target a greater number of undergraduate students since it is currently geared more toward graduate students and faculty members.

“Getting out of the library is a huge goal of ours, which is not just be bounded to teach here, but actually going out and holding these out in other buildings and other parts of campus, holding them not just for classes, but maybe student groups,” Askins said.

Edited by Stephi Smith |

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