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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Research Tips

by
 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

4.33 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 4 stars
Ease of Use: 3 stars
Reviewed: Oct 04, 2002 by Information Technology Editorial Board
Overview: This site is a comprehensive tutorial in introductory information literacy, and
in doing research using the University of Buffalo library facilities, and the
databases accessible there. It is well organized to be used as an introduction
or for occasional reference. The topics covered include, how to choose a topic,
locating background information, finding library materials, finding articles,
finding Web resources, evaluating resources, and citing sources.
Learning Goals: To teach students (at the University of Buffalo, especially) basic information
literacy, both the (UB) library and Internet and web research facilities, and
become information literate.
Target Student Population: Undergraduates learning introductory information literacy skills and basic
library materials use (at UB). Also comprehensive enough it should be useful
for occasional reference and refresher.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Only basic web browsing skills are required.
Type of Material: Tutorial
Recommended Uses:
Technical Requirements: Any web browser would appear to be suitable.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: This site provides an excellent and comprehensive introductory coverage of the
information literacy research process. The author gives the user a firm
foundation in the methods of research.
Concerns: It is somewhat restricted to the University of Buffalo context, since others
won't have access (through this site) to such resources as the InfoTrac OneFile
database and other databases listed on the "Using Databases" page, or the Oxford
Reference Online. Many (if not most) examples are also quite U.S.A. specific.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: The comprehensive coverage of the research process using the resources available
at UB should make it very useful as a teaching tool there, and some of the
content is generally applicable to others too. The excellent aspect of the
Research Assistant is that it is flexible enough for the teacher (or user) to
choose the needed area. It is a great benefit to those students who are the
traditional, "use it in the time of need" students.
Concerns: Its dependence upon UB's automated library system, restricted access to
databases and some other resources make it less useful as a general teaching
tool to other than UB. Also, it lacks the interactivity, self-testing, and
other exercises that would be needed for reinforcing the concepts.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 3 stars
Strengths: Clean and simple layout and design, with excellent use of font style and size,
and "horizontal rules" to separate sections. The design and layout draws the
user to the screen.
The images used helps brings the site to life.
Concerns: Font size for running text is quite small. There are no interactive exercises
or self-tests or summaries--just reading. Some pages, such as "Reference
Databases" would be improved by a "local TOC" (in this case a list of the
databases) before the narrative.


Other Issues and Comments: Somewhat restricted to use at UB, but some good general material worth browsing
by others.