Students conducting research in upper-level courses are developing familiarity with the conventions and shape of the conversation within the discipline. They should be able to identify key research tools, locate high quality sources, articulate salient elements of research within their discipline, and use sources effectively as they enter the scholarly conversation.
Students are fully capable of developing a sense of how scholarly research is reported and how to construct a good research project. There are a few points in the process that might especially prove challenging:
These skills need to be taught and reinforced. Don't assume students learned how to use the library in the FTS. What they learned was limited (usually to being able to find books on the shelves and search a database), may have been forgotten, or may not take into account recent changes in the Library.
Students tell us they learn by doing and they learn from the models provided by their professors. The most important predictor of students' success in finding, reading, and using sources is the number of times they engage in those activities. The librarians are happy to discuss assignments you are designing and to brainstorm additional ideas and strategies.
In addition to the issues they faced as first-year students, upper class students engage in several common research behaviors. They tend to do the following things: