This information has been provided for librarians, instructors, faculty and other educators interested in learning more about Searchpath. If you have contributions or suggestions about using Searchpath, please e-mail us.
What Is Searchpath?
Searchpath is a resource for WMU students, a self-instructional tutorial to teach them basic library and research skills. It covers the research process from initial topic selection to citation styles and the issue of plagiarism. There is a link to Searchpath on the Libraries' home page or it can be accessed directly from http://www.wmich.edu/library/searchpath.
Its content is organized into six modules:
|1. Starting smart||is an overview that introduces students to various types of sources.|
|2. Choosing a topic||provides tips on broadening and narrowing a topic and discusses search concepts.|
|3. Using Alice||has live practice searches in our online catalog.|
|4. Finding articles||provides practice searching in the Periodical Abstracts database.|
|5. Using the Web||includes the comparative evaluation of Web sources.|
|6. Citing sources||includes the topics of citing, plagiarism, and copyright.|
Students can complete the tutorial on their own time outside of class. Each of its six sections takes about 30 minutes and students can complete one or more modules at a time. Each of the modules is followed by a short quiz (see details below).
Who Is It Designed For?
Searchpath is designed for students in classes with a substantial writing component or introductory-level research, especially for English 105, BIS 142, and Engineering 102. However, we hope instructors of other classes will find it useful and assign it to their students.
How Can Instructors Effectively Use Searchpath with Their Courses?
Please have students complete Searchpath before they begin their research or attend a library session. Students can complete Searchpath on their own time and submit their quiz results to you.
Each module is followed by a short quiz and a results page, which provides an overall percentage score for that module, as well as a summary of questions answered right or wrong. Students can either print the six results pages with their name and submit the printouts to you as proof of completion or they can email their quiz results to you.
Many instructors have chosen to give extra credit points to students who complete Searchpath. We strongly suggest that students be required to pass the quizzes with a score of at least 85% or better. Students may retake a quiz as many times as they want to improve their score.
Does Searchpath Replace Library Instruction?
No! We continue to offer course-related library instruction and hope that you will incorporate a library session into your syllabus. Timing is important! Have your students complete Searchpath, then schedule library instruction with us for a date after they've received an assignment. Then they will learn about searching databases when they need these skills to complete their research assignment. Research has shown that:
- Students learn best and retain most when they need the information.
- Library instruction is more effective when the course instructor is present.
- Library instruction is more effective when coordinated with a class assignment.