Library Research and First-Year Writing

The first year of college initiates students into the scholarly community. The Institute for Writing and Rhetoric and the Library share a mission to help students develop the research abilities that are necessary for successful participation in the scholarly process throughout their years at Dartmouth and beyond. Through collaborative work over the last several years, the Institute for Writing and Rhetoric and the Library have identified core research abilities that students should develop during their first year.

Framing scholarship:

Students should situate the work that they do in the first-year writing courses, involving reading, discussion, topic formation, research, and writing, within the larger context of scholarly communication.

By the end of her first year at Dartmouth, the student will begin to:

  • Model scholarly behavior by identifying the purposes and processes of academic research and the student's place in the scholarly community.
  • Understand how scholarly literature is produced and organized, including the process of peer review.
  • Recognize the library's function on campus and role in facilitating the scholarly conversation.

Gathering information:

Students should identify and locate research sources through appropriate methods, techniques, and tools.

By the end of her first year at Dartmouth, the student will begin to:

  • Identify whether sources are primary and/or secondary, scholarly and/or popular.
  • Utilize multimedia and multimodal sources for research and production.
  • Seek and locate materials in both physical and online library environments, including (but not limited to) the stacks, electronic databases, via consortial partners such as DartDoc and Borrow Direct, and on the open web.

Evaluating sources:

Students should critically evaluate every source that they discover through research and decide whether or not the source is appropriate for their assignments.

By the end of her first year at Dartmouth, the student will begin to:

  • Determine appropriateness of sources (recognizing bias, intended audience, purpose).
  • Refine topics in order to devise effective research strategies and to discover new topics.
  • Recognize that research is a process that undergoes continuous change and refinement.
  • Experience the joy of discovering and producing new knowledge.

Integrating new knowledge into assignments:

Students should use the information they have acquired through research purposefully, and demonstrate awareness of their ethical obligations to the scholarly community.

By the end of her first year at Dartmouth, the student will be able to:

  • Document sources in a bibliography according to the citation style indicated by the professor.
  • Communicate principles of academic integrity in order to avoid plagiarism, and participate meaningfully in the scholarly discourse using different kinds of sources.
  • Understand the limits and opportunities of fair use in both classroom and public contexts.
  • Seek out library support resources, including librarians, technologists, peer tutors, and research guides.

Research Assignments