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Incorporating Information Literacy Into Oberlin First Year Seminars

This guide is intended to help Oberlin faculty teaching first year seminars incorporate information literacy.

Searching as Strategic Exploration

"Searching for information is often nonlinear and iterative, requiring the evaluation of a range of information sources and the mental flexibility to pursue alternate avenues as new understanding develops."

Discussion Topics

  • Identify a time in a previous research project when students had to go beyond the first three google results to find information. What did that process look like? How did they change their search strategy to find better information? 
  • Keyword brainstorm related to a research topic
  • Identify common places to find sources by type or discipline
  • Identify biases or limitations in the types of information collected by different search tools and suggest alternative search methods to develop a research process that accounts for those biases. 


  • Reflection papers where students describe their research process - what worked, what didn't, how their research process evolved as they encountered new information. 
  • Adjust an initial search process that did not yield useful information - e.g. changing keywords, suggesting additional search tools, using controlled vocabulary or advanced search features. 
  • Practice retrieving the full text of an article or navigating the library stacks to find a book. 
  • Explore a new search tool and teach it to their classmates. 
  • Reflect on the organization of a search tool or source (e.g. encyclopedia, Wikipedia, library catalog, library database, Google Scholar, archival finding guide, etc.) 
  • Use citation managers (e.g. Refworks, Zotero, etc.) to organize sources.