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Biology 219 Students Benefit from Library Consultations

Undergraduate students in Biology 219 classes were required to a schedule a library consultation during the winter 2012 term. This consultation, with Liaison Librarian for Science at Drexel University Libraries, Margaret (Peggy) Dominy, reviewed important resources that students would need to complete their lab reports for class -- and the results were impressive.

“There was a noteworthy improvement in the quality of resources students used when compared to the previous term,” Dominy said. “I hope that we can continue this requirement for biology  students."

Dominy reviewed the grades and sources for the Biology 219 classes, finding that the first report, which had the required library consultation, showed a marked improvement in identifying authoritative sources over subsequent reports, which did not. She hopes to host a second required consultation for students, with the intention of achieving higher grades and continued use of quality sources as well as nurturing the development of better research habits that will extend beyond Biology 219.

The idea for the required consultation in Biology 219 came from Dominy, along with class instructors Jessica Battisto and Heather Gwin, who felt that students would benefit from a meeting with a librarian. The students were required to schedule group consultations with Dominy prior to the due date for their first lab report. During the consult students learned about biology resources and how to incorporate them into their assignment.

The project is an experiment to evaluate the impact of exposing students to library  consultations. If attractive to faculty who assign students interaction with the Libraries, this program could expand beyond Biology and help improve the information literacy and critical thinking learning outcomes expected of Drexel graduates.

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