Using Course Syllabi to Uncover Opportunities for Curriculum-Integrated Instruction

Cheri Smith, Linda Doversberger, Sherri Jones, Parker Ladwig, Jennifer Parker, Barbara Pietraszewski


A syllabus study was conducted to indicate potential directions for the library instruction program at the University of Notre Dame, a comprehensive Level One institution in Indiana. In addition to identifying those courses which might benefit from library instruction that are not currently utilizing these services, the authors also tested several hypotheses regarding library use. A total of 144 syllabi were collected from a random sample of classes and were analyzed to determine the degree to which library resources are utilized. A summary analysis of the course syllabi showed that 62 syllabi (43 percent) required no library use, and 82 syllabi (57 percent) required at least some library use. Further analysis of the data revealed that class size, discipline, and even days on which classes are taught have an impact on the extent to which any type of library component is included in syllabi. The disciplines with the highest percentage of required library research were arts/architecture and the social sciences, the disciplines with the lowest percentage of library use were business and the sciences/engineering. This study reinforces the value of examining course syllabi as a method for uncovering opportunities for instruction and outreach.

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