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ASEE 122nd Annual Conference and Exposition


Our research examines information literacy education and resource use in significant and successful projects connecting technology with human need completed over a twelve year period between 2003 and 2014 by STEM undergraduates at a technical institute. We explain the evolution of collaborations between librarians, faculty project advisors, and research methods instructors during the preparation and completion of complex multidisciplinary projects completed mainly off-campus at project centers in the United States and around the globe. The projects we examine are completed as a mandatory graduation requirement for mainly third year undergraduates, 71% of whom will graduate with engineering degrees. We sought to understand not only how librarians teach students about information seeking and lifelong learning, but how faculty instructors and advisors approach teaching these critical professional skills. In addition we sought to understand what information sources students actually use by reviewing the works cited within five award winning project team reports per year of our study, for a total of 60 projects and almost 3000 works cited. We learned that student teams, despite year, project location, or discipline of study and faculty advisor use a broad range of sources, both peer-reviewed and not, and that these sources only partially correlate to the sources recommended by faculty. Most advisors depend on the support of librarians to help students achieve learning outcomes, and view personalized librarian consultations with project teams as the most critical piece of that support.