In 2017, the Reference, Instruction and Academic Engagement (RIAE) Department embarked on an analysis of our Research Help chat transcripts. Using two different samples from the transcripts (spanning the years 2011-2017), questions were coded for content as well as level of complexity. Through our research, we found that users tend to ask complex, substantial reference questions when using our chat service. This report represents our findings as well as possibilities for future investigation.
Strategic Thinking for Research in First Year Writing Students
In collaboration with the department of Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse (WRD), the Library provides research instruction to students in the First-Year Writing Program. This assessment project investigated whether our teaching materials effectively target the strategic thinking skills these students need at the beginning stages of their research. During Winter Quarter 2017, we collected 136 student worksheets and analyzed them using an original rubric. Our results found that 71% of students achieved a score of acceptable or better, and that we are successfully helping students with their strategic thinking.
DePaul Transfer Students and the Library: A Report of Our Findings
The Library's Instruction Working group conducted this year-long mixed methods study to better understand DePaul's transfer students' past and current experiences with libraries and research. We gathered information from campus partners, surveyed community college librarians from our top feeder schools, and conducted focus groups with current DePaul transfer students. Based on our findings, we developed a multi-step plan to work towards ensuring that all DePaul students, both native and transfer, graduate with comparable levels of information competency.
Search and Explore in the School for New Learning Online Instruction
Since 2008, the Library has provided research instruction for both online and in-person sections of the required School for New Learning's LL 300 (Research Seminar) course. We investigated whether the library met the learning outcomes in the online sections of this course. We specifically hoped to discover if the changes made to the library's course curriculum in Fall 2013 improved students' research skills. We analyzed students’ bibliographies from their final projects over six quarters, from Spring 2013 through Summer 2014. We developed a rubric with four criteria for evaluating the bibliographies and compared student work before and after the changes to see if there were improvements in the students’ scholarship.
Library Snapshot Day
On Library Snapshot Day, we set out to learn what happens in a typical day at the DePaul University Library. On March 8th, 2016, we asked our library users to share their stories with us. We wanted to understand the library’s impact on their studies and their favorite spaces and services.
Do You See What I See? Document Analysis Using Special Collections Sources.
DePaul Special Collections and Archives measured the impact of instruction on primary source literacy by partnering with History faculty teaching the 298 and 299 sequence to assess students document analysis skills. We conducted a pre- and post-test survey and found that every student who had prior SPCA instruction scored a two-test average of 75% or higher.
Flexibility and Persistence of First Year Students
The Library and the University Center for Writing‐based Learning, Academic Advising, New Student and Family Engagement and the Center for Students with Disabilities designed an assignment and lesson plan for Chicago Quarter Peer Student Leaders to deliver and grade as part of the Discover/ Explore Chicago curriculum. In addition to introducing students to the physical library and its resources, we hoped this assignment would cultivate certain habits of mind which contribute to student engagement and success, such as curiosity, flexibility, engagement, and a willingness to seek expertise when needed. We found that 78% of students demonstrated via their response to reflection questions that they can be flexible and persistent in developing successful strategies for using a range of resources to gather data and information and document what they have found.