Skip to Main Content
Xavier Library Home Employee Hub Student Hub

Course Based Undergraduate Research

Library Support

The Council for Undergraduate Research identifies training in information literacy and research as characteristics for excellence in undergraduate research (2012). Librarians can support course-based undergraduate research experiences in a variety of ways. Librarians are available to visit classes to provide tailored information literacy instruction. Instruction may be tied to course objectives or assignments and can be reinforced through library research guides (LibGuides) and individual research consultations. Every Canvas course contains a library resources tab which includes a list of subject specific databases and a research guide for the course’s subject area. Librarians can also create a custom research guide for the course.

As students begin their research, they will need to become familiar with their topic and understand how their work adds to the existing body of knowledge (Dolan & Weaver, 2021). When students engage in literature reviews, they learn how to formulate research questions, synthesize ideas, and organize information. These are key components of the information literacy frame “research as inquiry” (ACRL, 2015). This stage of the research process is an opportune time for librarians to provide information literacy instruction.

The information literacy frame “authority is constructed and contextual” focuses on the ability to evaluate sources based on authority and information need. This can include library instruction on ascertaining source types such as primary versus secondary and scholarly versus popular, how to evaluate the credibility of a source, and how to identify experts in the subject field. There are also opportunities to teach about the peer review process and the information life cycle. Additionally, librarians can teach students how to develop keywords and database search techniques, which is tied to the information literacy frame “searching as strategic exploration”. Librarians are also available to instruct students on citation styles and management.

Association of College and Research Libraries. (2015). Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. 

Council on Undergraduate Research (2012). Characteristics of excellence in undergraduate research.

Dolan, E. L., & Weaver, G. C. (2021). A guide to course-based undergraduate research: Developing and implementing cures in the natural sciences. W.H. Freeman.

Library Resources

Suggested Reading

Mooney, H., Collie, W. A., Nicholson, S. W., & Sosulski, M. R. (2014). Collaborative approaches to undergraduate research training: Information literacy and data management. Advances in Social Work, 15(2), 368–389.