COE librarian presents collaborative research on information literacy at Ireland conference

Bradetich-Monahan
Judi Bradetich (left) and Jo Monahan

Jo Monahan, the College of Education's embedded librarian, was among hundreds of librarians from around the world who gathered in Limerick, Ireland for an International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) satellite convention last semester. The topic for this meeting was information literacy in a changing landscape. Monahan presented a poster session called the "Journey to the Essence of Research," based on a research project she completed with Judi Bradetich, a lecturer in the Department of Educational Psychology.

The Journey's purpose is to improve the information-seeking and information processing skills of the travelers (Bradetich's students) so they can identify, understand and apply evidence-based research findings. In practice, Bradetich provided teams of students in her Child Development course with "popular press articles" on topics ranging from the effects of media on children, to challenges faced by children in military families, to nature deficit disorder. The articles given to the students contained little to no research, but served as a starting point that the students would move away from as they researched the topic.

"When I inherited this course, each student had been asked to find their own research article and present the information to the class. I would get a variety of students selecting all types of articles. Some were researched-based, some not. And when the students found a research-based article, many times they did not actually understand what they were reading well enough to explain the findings to the class​," Bradetich said.

As their Travel Guide, Bradetich knew it was important to expose her students to the university's libraries. She took her students to the library to introduce the Travelers to their Tour Guide (librarian Monahan) and highlight the electronic resources available to the students. Bradetich and Monahan presented the resources in a format that stressed simplicity, retention and transferability of the skills to other classes.

"One of our main goals is that everything related to this Journey is transferrable to other venues. Yes, it may be for this particular assignment, but everything learned about the library and research increases the students' fluency and skills for other classes and assignments," Monahan said.

Upon returning from their metaphorical journeys, the students brought back artifacts of information. They were not expected to prepare a final presentation or paper, but instead sit on a panel as a group of experts in their respective studies. Bradetich has found this method to be less stressful and more engaging for students when compared to traditional research reporting.

At the close of the project, Monahan and Bradetich felt they accomplished their goal of leading students to understand the essence of research. "Many students told us they wish they had known about these resources years ago," said Monahan. "These tools will be valuable throughout their college career and beyond."

Monahan serves as the dedicated librarian for the College of Education, and she helps COE faculty and students navigate the university's libraries and research resources. To schedule an appointment, contact Jo.Monahan@unt.edu or (940)565-3955 or drop by her office in Matthews 119B.

Lecturer Judi Bradetich, M. S., M. M., CFLE, has been with the College of Education for 6 years and currently teaches undergraduate human development and family studies courses for the Department of Educational Psychology.

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