An Exploratory Survey of Reference Source Instruction in LIS Courses

Denice Adkins, Sanda Erdelez


Because reference sources are a staple of reference service, reference source education is an intrinsic part of reference education. However, limited information exists about the strategies reference instructors use to teach their students about sources. Reference instructors at forty-eight ALA-accredited programs of library and information studies were surveyed as to what strategies they used to teach about sources, what methods they felt were effective, and what challenges they faced in teaching about reference sources. Forty respondents described a total of sixty-one courses taught. In describing those courses, instructors indicated that reference source instruction primarily occurred through discussion and students’ hands-on experience, although that experience was not always provided in class. Instructors provided information on challenges in source instruction, including access to print and electronic reference sources.

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