Module development: “Library Database Search Strategies for STEM Research.”

The Science and Engineering Libraries and the UW-Madison Libraries Teaching and Learning Programs office developed an asynchronous learning object to instruct STEM students in effectively searching or scientific articles. This object is entitled “Library Database Search Strategies for STEM Research.”

The project was created in response to instructors from InterEGR 397: Technical Writing (a Comm-B course). Librarians provide instruction sessions to this multi-section course and this module in conjunction with other online learning objects will allow the librarians to offer a fully asynchronous, or a blended approach, to the traditional library sessions. In addition, library instructors are able to use this module as part of a scaffolded approach to their instruction (whether virtual or in-person), building on the fundamental concepts and skills covered in the learning object. By having students complete this module in advance, library instructors can use class time to further connect with students and delve into more in-depth and advanced topics.

This learning object was developed to be used in any STEM course that wants to introduce its students to the fundamentals of searching for scientific articles. Key content includes: developing a research topic; discovering keywords through scholarly and non-scholarly searching; understanding how and why to use discipline-specific databases; creating search strategies and understanding syntax; using citation networks and citation tracing to find articles and to situate research topics in the broader scientific research conversation.

Strategic Directions