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Assessment (HC): Checklist for Research Support Consultations

Things to consider in research consultations:

  • If the student is interested in or required to work with primary sources, do they have a good understanding of what makes such sources distinct?  
    • Would the student benefit from working with primary sources in archives or special collections?  
  • Has the student spent much time using Tripod?
    • If not it’s worthwhile to integrate some demonstrations of the catalog as you meet the student’s immediate information need.
  • Has the student developed a research question that is relevant to the field they are working in? Can the question be answered within the parameters (e.g. page-length) set by their professors? How can they develop their question further?
    • When discussing a student’s research question it’s important to try to discern what is actually possible for the student to achieve given the constraints they are working within  (i.e. when the paper is due; how much time they can devote to it; the research and scholarly skills they possess)
  • What databases is the student familiar with? What databases would it be helpful for them to know about?
    • If the student does not have much familiarity with database research it’s worthwhile to talk through the steps you take as you search for relevant materials on their behalf.
  • Does the student have a sense of what are the important scholarly journals in his or her field?
  • Does the student have an understanding of the scholarly process (e.g. building on the work of other scholars)?
  • Is there a professor or another librarian (whether at Haverford or beyond) with whom it would be beneficial for the student to meet?
  • Does the student have experience in evaluating scholarship in terms of relevance, currency, reliability and disciplinary approach?
  • Does the student possess knowledge of the contexts relevant to his or her research question?
    • If not, the librarian can show the student handbooks, literature reviews and other publications which provide pertinent background.
  • Is the student familiar with theory that’s pertinent to his or her research question?
  • Are there any copyright issues related to the student’s project?