Case 1: Collaborating for Impact in Teaching with Primary Sources

by Samantha Crisp

This case study discusses a collaboration between a special collections librarian, research and instruction librarian, and a history faculty member at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, in support of an introductory undergraduate historical research methods course. Utilizing two collaborative library instruction sessions, the instructors’ primary objective was to encourage students to become more comfortable with the process of utilizing primary sources, contextualizing them with secondary scholarship, and synthesizing this information in their own unique research. The sessions revealed that undergraduate students excelled at the more rudimentary elements of primary source analysis, such as finding and interpreting sources, but could benefit from more targeted guidance in the practice of iterative research and synthesizing a variety of sources to craft a cohesive argument.

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