Communications in Information Literacy, Vol 11, No 2 (2017)

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Setting Them Up for Success: Assessing a Pre-Research Assignment for First-Year International Students

Susan Avery


As the international student population continues to grow, librarians must adjust their instruction to meet the needs of students who are adapting to a new country, culture, and language. This study assesses first-year international students as they engage in the research process through the completion of concept maps that precede database searches. Librarians assessed concept maps of international students completed prior to information literacy instruction to better understand the difficulties they experienced defining research topics and identifying keywords and alternatives. The results of this assessment provide a deeper understanding of the challenges first-year international students face with creating search strategies. Ultimately, this study resulted in more meaningful relationships between librarians and English as a second language (ESL) instructors, and effective adaptations to ESL library instruction.

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