Library Services, Fall 2018: Library Research 101

| January 14, 2019

On October 11, 2018 in the evening, Services staff provided a library information session for Dr. Yoo Kyung Chang’s course MSTU 4000, Core Seminar in Mathematics, Science, and Technology.  The event is documented in a Vialogue titled LT Spotlight: Library Research 101 produced with its usual cutting-edge professionalism by the library’s Video Team.

When asked by a colleague from the EdLab Publishing Team to talk about some aspects ofMSTU 4000 1 this presentation and of my meetings with classes in general, I supplied some answers that I think describe the event and why it seems to me to have been an important development in making use of the the Learning Theater for library instruction and exploration.  I wrote:

I meet with classes throughout the year, usually towards the beginning of each semester (Fall in particular), but it’s rare for me to be asked to meet with a class of this size (approximately 90 students), which is one of the principal reasons we decided to use the Learning Theater, rather than the course’s MSTU 4000 2regular meeting place (actually 136 Thompson Hall, a lecture hall space, and a rather cramped one for a class of this size).

In other sessions with classes, my preference is when possible to involve students in hands-on experience searching databases and exploring search strategies, but because of time constraints and other factors, my presentations often end up being lecture-like sessions with time for some questions and answers.

In this case, the instructor, Yoo Kyung Chang, had in mind from the outsetMSTU 4000 3 the students’ involvement in searching the literature, and the idea of dividing the class into groups and making the session a competition among them developed fairly quickly.  A lot of the brainstorming and planning for using the LT to maximum effect was a collaborative effort of Dr. Chang, Kim Kefgen, our Head of Services and the Lead Learning Experience Specialist, and me (Yoo Kyung and Kim in particular); they deserve special credit for having made the event what it ultimately was.

MSTU 4000 4I haven’t held an event of this exact kind in the past, but I absolutely hope to do so in the future, and I think the Learning Theater lent itself extraordinarily well to the experience.  I’ve been thinking about make use of the LT as a venue for library instruction for some time, and I think this adventure was a great first step and one I’d love to build upon and fine-tune over time.  Once again thanks to Kim, Kalli Mathios (who heroically came in to co-present with me despite having broken her foot a few days earlier), lots of EdLabbers, and the instructor, the session incorporated a number of immersive and constructivist elements that I wouldn’t necessarily have thought of or known how to bring about, and I think the result was to engage the students in an active learning experience that I hope was memorable and fun and of value to them.

The event overall is covered in depth in the “Library Workshop for MSTU 4000 Core Seminar” Event Rhizr, from which the following is an excerpt that lays out the basic rules of the session:

Professor Chang welcomes students from the center of the space, near the expert panel. Students remain congregated in their work stations. Professor Chang uses a mic to address them. 
Each group is assigned a unique problem statement. The goal of the evening is toMSTU 4000 5 refine/narrow the problem statement based on the outcome of three challenges. The goal of each challenge is to find sources that a) best fit the challenge criteria and b) will help them define a more concrete, significant, and focused problem statement.
Each round is timed. At the end of the round, whomever is in the “Presenter” role must come forward with their microphone and whiteboard and answer the following the questions:
  • What is your source?
  • Why is it good?
  • Which tool did you start with and why?
MSTU 4000 6Each team has one opportunity to stop the clock and ask the librarians questions.  To play their “Ask a Librarian” card, a team member must step up to the table and Submit a Request.  All players must stop their research while questions are asked and answered.
After three minutes, time resumes.
At the end of the challenge, each judge will award a star to the team of their choosing.  At the end of the final challenge, each team will present their refined problem statement and the judges will announce the grand prize winner. 

I look forward to incorporating what we learned from this experience in planning for future library instruction sessions in the Learning Theater.  I’m needless to say grateful to have had the opportunity to collaborate on the event with Dr. Chang, my library colleagues, and the students in the class.


What follows is a sampling of topics and research domains about which we consulted with students during the Fall 2018 semester:

  • Comparative efficacy of searching Google versus subject-specific databases.
  • Executive functioning, mindfulness, thoughtfulness.
  • Music therapy for adult learners.
  • Studies on art education using quantitative research methods.
  • Systematic review concerning telehealth assessment.
  • Empirical studies on emotional abuse, emotional neglect, psychological abuse, psychological neglect, psychological maltreatment, rejection, psychological control,  mental injury, emotional injury, and emotional harm.
  • Assistance conducting an abridged literature review on emotion regulation in early childhood classrooms.
  • Childhood trauma, parenting, collaborative health teams, interprofessional education, motivators and drivers to seek care.
  • Teachers College-China connection in the 1920s.
  • Trauma in relation to special education.
  • Different ways of speaking Spanish inside the classroom and how students and teachers interpret these variations.
  • The role of the Cypriot language in contemporary Greek Cypriot identity.
  • Given that a large number of K-12 Art Educators are advocates for turning STEM into STEAM, how can fashion and its many facets be the “A” for ART in STEAM?
  • Effectiveness of action observation intervention when used as an adjunct to traditional rehabilitation therapy, as compared to traditional rehabilitation therapy alone, no treatment, or sham treatment for improving upper extremity function and/or ADL function in stroke survivors with motor impairment.
  • Case study on confidentiality.
  • Research on the use of the Trauma Informed Approach in adult education, in order to build the needed agency to break the cycle of multi-generational poverty.
  • Teacher education, professional development, and culturally relevant pedagogy.
  • Cross-linguistic influence in translation.
  • Dance education and social justice/ human rights.
  • The perceptions of nurses and adult patients, in general medicine and adult oncology, on what constitutes caring behaviors; also outcomes of caring behaviors in oncology nursing.
  • To what extent are active learning strategies in African universities associated with student achievement? To what extent is that association influenced by the socioeconomic status of students?
  • Identification of research journals dealing with university foundations, economics of higher education, and endowment management.
  • Educational software programs and their overall effectiveness as learning mechanisms in schools.
  • LGBTQ asylum seekers from Chechnya and how their identity affects their education.
  • How professionals (teachers, social workers, medical professionals, mental health workers, police, etc) view and engage with the LGBT population.
  • History of school lunch.
  • UNESCO World Heritage sites:  arguments in favor of (Canada, Australia, U.K.).
  • How to define whether a postgraduate is good at teaching or has much more potential in research.
  • English education in China.
  • Searching for TC dissertations 1970-1987 from the program in Anthropology and Education.
  • Art history/masculinity & gender identity; specifically seeking aid in finding sources on masculinity/gender/and feminist and queer theory.
  • What can be learned about a visitor’s journey through the High Line and his or her experience with the exhibited works of art.
  • Art education and reading difficulties:  art as core curriculum for second grade in New York.
  • How visual artifacts, photojournalism, or media relate to climate change and experiential learning.
  • Mexican cultural policy and the role of the state.
  • New nurses, simulation, and clinical competence.
  • Youth programs and museums in Singapore.
  • Teacher presence (body language, tone of voice, volume, etc) in the classroom; nonverbal communication and teacher attitudes or behavior.
  • Adolescent identity construction through literacy education, in particular through literary experience. class dynamics, spatiality, reading-writing ecology, and student behavior.
  • Women’s access to mathematics instruction across Columbia University during the late 19th century and early to mid-20th century in comparison with the mathematics instruction that was available to men.
  • Epiphanic pedagogy.
  • Fragmented education and the responsibility of online educators.
  • The idea of decolonizing the high school curriculum in South Africa, particularly with respect to the English curriculum.
  • Pathophysiology of thyroid disease.
  • The evolution of bilingual education/policy in the US.
  • The psychology of submissive women in dominant-submissive (bdsm) relationships.
  • Teacher-centered mindfulness in relation to overall performance of students.
  • The current trend in education, particularly in secondary schools serving low-income students of color, to adopt and try to teach desired “character traits,” such as grit or self-control; to what extent this practice is, or has become, a manifestation of a “surveillance culture” towards adolescence.
  • How schools (administrators and teachers) handle instructional coherence across grade levels and/or across divisions (elementary to middle and/or middle to high school).
  • EEG oscillations and what differences there are in certain disorders like anxiety and depression.
  • Teacher warmth and children’s emotion regulation.
  • Migrant or left-behind children in China; educational challenges for them, including with gaokao, Chinese equivalent of SATs.

During Fall 2018, Library Services staff provided research consultations for 91 students, individually or in small groups, exploring resources and search strategies germane to their topics or disciplines.

Senior librarians and services associates responded to 1,809 in-person and phone queries.

Senior librarians answered 642 queries–reference and information questions, requests for one-on-one research consultations, inquiries concerning library hours and operations, questions pertaining to room reservations, and circulation issues–that were submitted via the library’s email ticket system.

Librarians provided 14 course-specific library information sessions for a total of 278 students enrolled in the courses.