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Library Advanced Research Competencies

LARC, the Library Advanced Research Competencies tutorial, provides an overview of research concepts and practices from the perspective of the student as an active participant in the production of information.

Tutorial Overview

The Library Advanced Research Competencies (LARC) tutorial is composed of several modules that are designed for integration in research-based courses, especially the array of UWM research opportunities for undergraduates. Each module gives an overview of research concepts from the perspective of the student as an active participant in the production of information. The modules include Primary Sources, Literature Reviews, Data and Statistics, Publishing, and Writing without Plagiarism. The modules are self-contained and include self-assessment tools. An ideal integration of the modules would take place in a Flipped model, where students are asked to engage with the content, complete a self-assessment and then apply their new knowledge in the classroom or in conjunction with an independent research plan. 

The tutorial content and assessments incorporate adaptations of the Knowledge Practices and Dispositions in the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education by the Association of College and Research Libraries, used under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.

Learning Outcomes

The Primary Sources module helps students explore the way their discipline finds, analyzes, and uses primary sources. Students are encouraged to consider research as open-ended exploration and engagement with information and to question traditional notions of granting authority, recognizing the value of diverse ideas and worldviews.

The learning assessment in this module asks students to...

  • distinguish between primary and secondary sources within the context of their research
  • locate relevant primary sources in physical collections or digital repositories
  • identify a creator's choices and analyze sources for voice and perspective

An in-class assignment should encourage students to...

  • appropriately incorporate primary sources into their projects and justify the choices they make

The Literature Review module models a path for finding sources for a literature review, helping students to focus their subject of inquiry, gain confidence in knowing when to stop researching, and identify gaps in the published research. Students are encouraged to persist in the face of search challenges and know when enough information completes the information task.

The learning assessment in this module asks students to...

  • formulate a search strategy by identifying...
    • appropriate subject-specific databases
    • key terms, descriptors, stakeholders, setting/situation, and methods
    • major theories and key authors
    • frequently cited articles
  • evaluate sources to include in their literature review

An in-class assignment should encourage students to...

  • identify strengths/weaknesses in gathered sources
  • justify their decisions about which sources they will include in their literature review

The Data & Statistics module offers students the resources to responsibly use and manage both their data and the data of others. Students are encouraged to consider how their choices, as creators, impact the purposes for which information will be used and the message it conveys.

The content in the Data and Statistics module positions students to be able to...

  • identify interested parties that might produce information about their topic in order to create an appropriate search strategy for their data need
  • give credit to the contributions of others through proper attribution and citation

An in-class assignment should encourage students to...

  • justify the choices they make in the way that they convey data and statistics
  • create a data management plan

The Publishing Module helps students understand their responsibilities as authors, consider the opportunities and limitations in sharing their work, and identify a venue where they can submit their work for publication. It encourages students to see themselves as contributors to the scholarly conversation and to use the submission and publication process as a way to reflect on and extend their research experience.

The learning assessment in this module asks students to...

  • identify their responsibilities as authors in order to make publishing decisions
  • identify their target audience and justify their choice of an open or closed copyright license
  • identify at least one venue where they can responsibly publish their work

An in-class assignment should encourage students to...

  • publish their work with support from a faculty mentor

The Writing without Plagiarism tutorial helps students understand plagiarism and develop a writing process to avoid committing it. The tutorial focuses on how to use another author's words and ideas, rather than a specific citation style, encouraging students to respect the original ideas of others and see themselves as both consumers and contributors to the scholarly conversation.

The learning assessment in this tutorial asks students to...

  • evaluate a writing sample to determine whether it appropriately incorporates paraphrase, quotation, and citation
  • justify their evaluation and provide specific recommendations to correct the writing sample

An in-class assignment should encourage students to...

  • appropriately incorporate paraphrase, quotation, and citation in their own writing

Undergraduate Research Opportunities at UWM

Undergraduate research is a high-impact educational practice, as defined by the Association of American Colleges & Universities. The Council on Undergraduate Research outlines the following benefits of undergraduate research:

  • Enhances student learning through mentoring relationships with faculty
  • Increases retention
  • Increases enrollment in graduate education and provides effective career preparation
  • Develops critical thinking, creativity, problem solving and intellectual independence
  • Develops an understanding of research methodology
  • Promotes an innovation-oriented culture

Additional Resources

The Information Literacy Tutorial focuses on understanding sources of information. It can be completed as a general introduction to information sources at the UWM Libraries or broken down into individual modules that address your course needs.

Research Help

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Kristin Woodward
P.O. Box 604,
Milwaukee WI 53201-0604
Subjects: Flex Option, Psychology


The contents of the Library Advanced Research Competencies tutorial may be reused with attribution. Please copy the following into new works based on the Library Advanced Research Competencies:
Creative Commons LicenseLibrary Advanced Research Competencies by Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
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