Learning Objectives

The following skills are objectives for Castleton University students:

  1. Identify and locate library services and collections.
  2. Formulate and conduct an information search that includes a variety of reference sources, such as encyclopedias, library catalogs, indexes, bibliographies, statistics sources, government publications, and resources available on the Internet.
  3. Evaluate information in terms of accuracy, authority, bias, and relevance.
  4. Employ efficient database searching techniques, such as use of Boolean operators, truncation, phrase searching, nesting, and field-specific searching.
  5. Identify the bibliographic elements essentials for properly citing an information source.
  6. Apply appropriate ethical guidelines to the use of information.

Below are specific skills students must master to demonstrate competency.


Module 1 — An Introduction to the Information World

The student will:

  • Describe how information is organized in libraries
  • Given a need for a particular type of information (i.e. overview, research report, news), identify an appropriate type of source (i.e. encyclopedia, scholarly journal, newspaper)
  • Interpret a bibliographic citation
  • Characterize the quality of information found on the Internet vs. in libraries

Module 2 — Searching an Electronic Database

The student will:

  • Define the terms database, record, and field
  • Define 2 types of information databases: catalog and index
  • Determine the subject scope and years of coverage of a given database
  • Compare and contrast a subject search and a keyword search
  • Build a search strategy using AND, OR, NOT (Boolean operators)
  • Define truncation, nesting, field-specific searching, and phrase searching
  • Identify the main concepts of a research topic and generate a list of search terms

Module 3 — Finding Information Resources

The student will:

  • Use Vermont State Colleges Library Catalog to locate materials held by the Library (including books, nonprint media, and government documents).
  • Find relevant background information on a topic.
  • Locate and effectively use the following types of information:
    • Periodical articles
    • News sources
    • Biographical information
    • Primary sources
    • Critical reviews
    • Government information
    • Statistical information

Module 4 — Using Internet Sources

The student will:

  • Locate a specific web site given a URL
  • Conduct an Internet search on a given topic
  • Compare and contrast a database search with an Internet search

Module 5 — Evaluating Sources of Information

The student will evaluate information using the following criteria:

  • Authority of the author or producer
  • Appropriateness of the date of publication
  • Supporting documentation
  • Purpose of the work
  • Review process

Module 6 — Information Ethics: Citing Sources and Fair Use

The student will:

  • Identify the bibliographic elements essential for properly citing an information source
  • Define plagiarism
  • Apply appropriate ethical guidelines to the use and citing of information

Module 7 — A Search Strategy for Research Papers and Speeches

The student will define and apply an efficient search strategy for a research paper or speech to include:

  • Choosing a topic and identifying its main concepts
  • Narrowing the focus of the topic
  • Identifying reference books, indexes, and Internet sites appropriate for researching the topic
  • Using a variety of sources
  • Evaluating the sources found for appropriateness and quality