Types of Instruction

Basic Instruction

Basic instruction provides students with general information in conducting research using Polk Library's print and electronic resources. Classes generally run 60-90 minutes in length and can include the following:

  • General library information, options for help performing research, major collections, and building layout
  • The peer review process, evaluating scholarly and popular publications, understanding the information cycle, understanding types of sources (primary versus secondary versus tertiary)
  • Basic search techniques
  • Major electronic databases
  • Library catalog

Classes may also include upon request:

  • Internet searching and website evaluation
  • Short tours of important areas of the library

Basic instruction is most effective when coupled with some type research paper or library assignment. English 101 instructors are strongly encouraged to schedule their classes for this type of instruction.


Specialized and Advanced Instruction

The majority of library instructions are sessions focusing on a particular subject, class assignment, field of study, or library collection. These classes may include:

  • Performing a literature review
  • Searching specialized databases (MLA, ERIC, Web of Science, etc)
  • Using primary sources, and archival materials
  • Government documents
  • Using interlibrary loan
  • Citation management software
  • RSS feeds and other site aggregators
  • Internet searching and evaluation.


Library tours are short physical tours of important areas of the library. These tours include little or no instruction in the library's electronic resources.