Changes in First-Year Students’ Use of Research Resources: Impacts of an Interdisciplinary Seminar Program on Research and Literacy Learning Outcomes




Murray, Jacqueline
Lachowsky, Nathan J.

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The Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning


The Internet, which has made information ubiquitous and seemingly infinite, has transformed education. Universities are challenged to educate students to navigate and evaluate critically the undifferentiated information of the Internet so that students gain the ability to transform it into knowledge. To better understand the effects of taking a First-Year Seminar we examined the types of research resources students consulted before and after taking an interdisciplinary graded for-credit First-Year Seminar at a midsize comprehensive public university in Canada. We analyzed 2,576 anonymous questionnaires collected across 102 first-year seminars. After completing a first-year seminar, students consulted more reliable and scholarly resources, irrespective of the semester of enrollment. Generally, there were some improvements noted between first and second semester students. However, comparisons between students who had just completed a seminar in semester one with students who were about to begin a seminar in semester two, reveal that the improved results are not solely attributable to the normal transition and maturation process experienced by students in their first semester of university.



first-year seminars, interdisciplinary, active learning, learning outcomes, research skills


Murray, J. & Lachowsky, N. J. (2017). Changes in first-year students’ use of research resources: Impacts of an interdisciplinary seminar program on research and literacy learning outcomes. The Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 8(3).