Use of Searchpath

This information has been provided for librarians, instructors, faculty and other educators interested in learning more about Searchpath. If you have contributions or suggestions about using Searchpath, please e-mail us.

What is Searchpath?
Who Is It Designed For?
How Can Instructors Effectively Use Searchpath in their Courses?
Does Searchpath Replace Library Instruction?

What Is Searchpath?
Searchpath is a resource for students, a self-instructional tutorial to teach them basic library and research skills. It covers the research process from initial topic selection to citation styles and the issue of plagiarism. There is a link to Searchpath on the Libraries' home page or you can click here to access it directly.

Its content is organized into seven modules:

1. Starting smart is an overview that introduces students to various types of sources.
2. Choosing a topic provides tips on broadening and narrowing a topic and discusses search concepts.
3. Using Voyager has live practice searches in our online catalog.
4. Finding newspapers discusses locating and using newspapers as a research aid.
5. Using the Web includes the comparative evaluation of Web sources.
6. Finding Articles provides practice searching in the Infotrac database.
7. Citing sources includes the topics of citing, plagiarism, and copyright.

Students can complete the tutorial on their own time outside of class. Each of its seven sections takes about 15 minutes and students can complete one or more modules at a time

Who Is It Designed For?
Searchpath is designed for students in classes with a substantial writing component or introductory-level research, especially for English 1020. However, we hope instructors of other classes will find it useful and assign it to their students.

How Can Instructors Effectively Use Searchpath with Their Courses?
Please have students complete Searchpath on their own time before they begin their research or attend a library session. Many instructors have chosen to give extra credit points to students who complete Searchpath.

Does Searchpath Replace Library Instruction?
No! We continue to offer course-related library instruction and hope that you will incorporate a library session into your syllabus. Timing is important! Have your students complete Searchpath, then schedule library instruction with us for a date after they've received an assignment. Then they will learn about searching databases when they need these skills to complete their research assignment. Research has shown that:

  • Students learn best and retain most when they need the information.
  • Library instruction is more effective when the course instructor is present.
  • Library instruction is more effective when coordinated with a class assignment.

Walker Library has two electronic classrooms, which librarians use for computer demonstrations and hands-on training. These are heavily booked, so please schedule early to reserve the date and time you need--preferably call us at least 2 weeks ahead. Requests will be filled on a first-come basis.

To arrange a library instruction session contact:

Gwen Williams, phone: 904-8530, e-mail:

Searchpath Home Module choice Input Exit