Students early in their college careers often struggle with the same hurdle toward the beginning of the research process: What are my keywords? Reverse engineering can help students understand how the words and phrases they use lead to different search results. I have introduced a reverse engineering activity in one shots for lower-level courses. In this activity, students are presented with the first page of a scholarly article (title, abstract, etc.) and work as a group to identify the thesis and major concepts of the article. From these ideas, students then come up with synonyms and related words, including phrases that are more broad and more narrow. The class then discusses how these terms can be combined in a search and what the results might look like depending on the search. Students gain greater understanding of how to create search strings and how to craft researchable questions. This activity has been well-received by both faculty and students and has successfully been deployed as a self-paced online activity as well. This poster will use photos from classes, screenshots, and narrative to show the evolution of this activity over time and between different institutions, from the research process behind its creation to the post-assessment. This poster will cover considerations for future changes and further implementation.
Brittany O'Neill– Humanities & Social Sciences Librarian, Louisiana State University