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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

College Writing

English 112

Reserving a Library Classroom

Reserving the Calipari Room

Email Annette M. Vadnais,

In your email, provide the following information:

• Your name
• Your first choice (and an alternate or two) of date and time that you would like to reserve a computer classroom
• The regular meeting days/times of your class (e.g. MWF 9-9:50)
• Number of students in your class
• Any other information or questions you wish to provide

Lesson Plan Example

Lesson Plan Example

1.  Google: What it’s good for, and where it falls short.

  • Great place to get started, to get an idea of new concepts, topics, and keywords.
  • Wikipedia can provide background information and links to pertinent references.
  • Google and Wikipedia are a place to START, not to finish; results are weighted by popularity, search history (depending on browser), and funding – companies have been accused of “black hat” optimization.
  • Examples: Run Google search on:
  •  “philosophy” – skin care product site
  • “vegan” – mostly restaurant results
  • Have students run their own search using their topic (if they have selected one).

2.  Navigation of the UMass Amherst Libraries’ Website (, covering the following highlights (try having your students lead the conversation):

  • About Us
    • Find Your Librarian
  • Need Help?
    • Ask Us!
  • Research 
    • Start Your Research/Research Guides by Subject
      • Attention: College Writing/First-Year and Transfer Student Guide
      • College Writing
      • Outreach Series
    • Databases & Collections

3.  Discovery Search (Ebsco)

  • The Walmart of library resources. It has a little bit of everything, but is not comprehensive. If you are interested in a specific topic, search databases in that topic to get the most comprehensive information.
  • Sample search – organic food
  • Limiting search results by facets
    • Books 
    • Articles

4.  Academic Search Premier

  • A database that covers a broad range of topics, with the option to limit to scholarly/peer reviewed.
  • Sample search – organic food
    • Focus on limiters and accessing full text.
    • Have students run through the Library Research Exercise (Research Exercise #1 below)

Wrap Up: Discuss the exercise with the class as a group.  Did they find any good sources?  Did they find anything that was surprising?  Did they find anything right away or did they have to change their search terms?

Exercises to do with your class

Research Exercise #1

Library Research Exercise

GOAL 1: Become familiarized with database searching techniques

GOAL 2: Find an article from a scholarly journal

1) Go to the Library homepage:

  • Click on Databases
  • Select Academic Search Premier or a database of your choice

2) Using either your paper topic proposal or research questions, type in a combination of keywords.

3) Select one relevant/interesting article

4) What is the title of the article?


5) What is the name of the publication?


6) Is there a good subject heading in the SUBJECT field of the article (to focus/streamline a later search)?


7) Is the publication a JOURNAL or a MAGAZINE (circle one)? How do you know this?
Please explain.


8) How will you access this article? Circle one: ONLINE or PRINT (in the stacks) or

9) Now, go back to your search results and see if there’s another article that fits your topic, or, try refining your search. Be sure to keep track of your citations, so you can refer back to them later/easily develop a bibliography for your final project.

For additional support:


Annette M. Vadnais

Student Success & Outreach Librarian



Library Research Exercise PDF

Research Exercise #2

Review the anatomy of a Scholarly Article, and read the descriptions.

Share your thoughts, does anything surprise you?

Research Exercise #3

Use one of the databases below to start researching your topic, research question, or theses.

Coming up with search terms is an iterative process, don't get discouraged!  It can take time to construct the search string that will bring you back the best results.  

Notice the types of results that you get, what is included?  

How can you tell if the item you are looking at is peer reviewed, trade/professional, and other types of periodicals?

A good habit to get into is to save the citations, so that you can refer to the article later or for your work cited page.  You can download and email yourself a copy of the article(s) to keep for your records.  You can also use citation management software.

Academic Search Premier: Scholarly journals from all academic disciplines - an excellent starting point for multidisciplinary research projects. 3,200 full-text journals. Coverage from 1975 to present.

Business Source Complete: Content Type: Business journal articles, company reports. Description: Peer-reviewed journals, trade journals, and business magazines. Company SWOT reports. Includes the Harvard Business Review, Volume 1 (1922) to present.

JSTOR: Core scholarly journals from a range of disciplines, dating from the earliest issue of each journal to a few years before present.

PubMed: National Library of Medicine's comprehensive database of citations to medical journal articles, with links to UMass-subscribed full text, 1946-present. PubMed includes all MEDLINE content, plus content from additional journals and books in the life sciences.

Web of Science:  Index to articles from peer-reviewed journals in all disciplines. Search by cited reference, topic, author, and more. Arts and Humanities covers 1975-present; Social Sciences 1900-present; and Science 1900-present.


Libraries Information Literacy Modules

The Libraries' Information Literacy Modules are a set of online videos, text tutorials, and quizzes covering topics relating to information literacy. UMass Amherst Libraries are making available these standalone resources to Faculty to use independently in any of your classes. You can link this content wherever you like, and use as much or as little of this content with your students. 

To get to the list of all the modules, go here