Introducing the Research Skills Toolkit

By Kathleen Oakey, MLIS

Over the 2017-2018 Academic Year, library staff delivered just over 115 hours of in-class instruction to more than 530 students across the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. While library-led workshops are incredibly valuable and instrumental for developing the research skills of Sheridan students, these workshops form only part of the picture. Research skills are also being skillfully taught by faculty themselves, and here in the library we are very interested in doing what we can to make it even easier for faculty to incorporate research skills in their classroom.

The Research Skills Toolkit is the brain-child of Sarah Sinclair and myself, and was born out of a need to better support General Education faculty as they support students in courses where they are required to conduct research. We worked with a small working group to come up with a structure for the Toolkit, the topics it could cover, and how it could be delivered to faculty. What we came up with was a repository of learning objects carefully curated from across the open web and selected for their quality and relevance to the Sheridan community, entirely embedded in SLATE. All content is available to be used by faculty in General Education courses (whether in-person or on SLATE), at the instructor’s discretion.

Over the 2017-2018 school year, Jamie Goodfellow and myself began to fill out the following topics:

  • Scholarly vs Popular Sources
  • Evaluating & Choosing Appropriate Sources
  • Plagiarism & Citing
  • The Mechanics of APA Style

Screenshot by Kathleen Oakey

Each topic consists of a basic overview of the topic, as well as a variety of suggested learning objects. General Education instructors can use the example activities and handouts as inspiration, or embed them directly into their courses, as is. Both in-class and online learning activities are provided.

For now, the Research Skills Toolkit is reserved for General Education faculty, only. Over the next academic year, additional modules will be added, and old modules updated. Be sure to check back often!