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  -> Why/How Do Students Gather and Use Information?

University of Nevada Las Vegas School of Architecture: Why/How Do Students Gather and Use Information? Prepared by Jeanne Brown, Head of UNLV Architecture Studies Library June 2003

Handling and assimilating information underlies all NAAB criteria. According to the NAAB Student Performance Criteria description, performance at the awareness level includes recall of information. Performance at the understanding level is described as “assimilation and comprehension of information… correctly paraphrase or summarize information.” At the highest level, “ability,” “students can correctly select the information that is appropriate to a situation and apply it.”

Today there are more sources for information than ever before. The library remains, however, a standard and substantial source, with which students must become familiar both for their academic career and to lay a firm foundation for performance in the professional world. The library itself has changed, and includes print materials, videos, Internet and other online sources, and electronic materials. The ability to find and select information within and among all these categories of information is critical to student success.

Below are several typical reasons that students gather information. For each is indicated the skills needed by the student to do so successfully, and the online teaching materials offered by the UNLV Architecture Studies Library to assist them in doing so. The librarian is willing to work with individual faculty to modify the online materials for a particular class assignment, and to prepare quizzes on the material if so desired.

The librarian is also happy to offer a variety of other support to assist in developing student information selection and evaluation skills:

· Presentation to class, either in the studio, or in the library
· Session for students outside class time, perhaps for extra credit
· Work with faculty to develop assignments or quizzes that demonstrate skill mastery
· Meet with students one-on-one to discuss resources or remediate skills
· Develop handouts on specific topics

1. To reinforce what the instructor is presenting, as part of the formal structure of the class.
Examples: reading the assigned text, using the materials placed on library reserve by the instructor, reading an article suggested by the instructor [e.g. in class or in his list of supplemental reading].

Student skills needed:
· Awareness of how to access library reserve materials [both physical reserves and electronic reserves]
· Ability to locate material in the library when a specific author, title, journal are known

Online modules [] that could be helpful:
Module 1: Finding your way in the Architecture Studies Library
Module 4: Books and Magazine Titles

Note: Contact the librarian to schedule physical tours of the library [tour form online at]. First year students particularly benefit from an orientation to spaces and functions.

2. To gather information on a topic for a paper or presentation.
Examples: one-page summary, one-hour presentation, twenty-five page paper research board; precedent study, paper on a specific architecture/building/style, research on a typology.

Student skills needed:
· Awareness of how to choose and refine a topic
· Knowledge of proper terminology or ability to determine that terminology
· Awareness of the proper types of sources for the topic, and how format may affect usefulness
· Ability to find multiple sources, and multiple types of sources, using appropriate research tools
· Ability to draw information selectively from the sources, evaluate sources
· Ability to cite sources appropriately, both in technique [proper citation format] and in purpose [when to cite, when not]

Online modules [] that could be helpful:
Module 5: Searching: periodical (journal, magazine) articles on a topic
Module 8: Searching techniques and strategies
Module 9: Image copyright & citing
Module 10: Finding and using images
Module 11: Bibliographic Citations
Module 12: Evaluation of information

Note: Gathering information on a topic involves a wide range of skills. It can be daunting to students not familiar with the process. It is recommended that classes meet with the librarian for an introduction, and to establish contact.

3. To search out examples of principles presented in class.
Examples: buildings illustrating various design principles; use of various methods of traffic calming; examples of architects faced with making ethical choices; examples of the use of specific building materials. Responding to this purpose of information-gathering can be as simple as browsing through magazines or as sophisticated as developing a complex search strategy.

Student skills needed:
· Awareness of the proper types of sources for the topic
· Ability to employ complex search strategies to retrieve specific information

Online modules [] that could be helpful:
Module 5: Searching: periodical (journal, magazine) articles on a topic
Module 8: Searching techniques and strategies

4. To find the proper building/interiors/landscape materials for a particular need.
Examples: matching materials properties with anticipated use (i.e. specifying); finding examples of use of a material; finding evaluations on materials.

Student skills needed:
· Knowledge of specialized sources of information on materials

Library materials to consult: Sweet’s, Internet guide to online product information [ and Manufacturer Information2762], library catalog and brochure file.

5. To find “real-life” information needed for professional purposes.
Examples: where to go to graduate school; licensure requirements in a particular state; how to find a job; how to evaluate job opportunities; identifying continuing education opportunities.

Student skills needed:
· Knowledge of specialized sources of information
· Ability to search the Internet in a targeted way

Online modules [] that could be helpful:
Searching: reference tools
Module 7: Internet searching


6. To support decision-making in design projects.
Examples: Information on programming for specific building types; precedent studies; psychological impact of building on occupants; results of post occupancy evaluations; valid survey techniques

Student skills needed:
· Ability to find and evaluate pro/con information
· Ability to determine whether information is accurate and reliable
· Knowledge of specialized sources of information

Online modules [] that could be helpful:
Module 11: Evaluation of information
Module 14: Advanced Research: Typical Sources

Note: Please encourage students to meet with the librarian one-on-one to discuss information resources and search strategies for their project.

7. To analyze a site, especially a Las Vegas site.
Examples: solar info; soil info; land use and zoning info; aerials; property info

Student skills needed:
· Knowledge of specialized sources of information

Online modules [] that could be helpful:
Module 13: Finding Las Vegas Architecture and Planning Information

Note: A graduate assistant is assigned to the Architecture Studies Library Las Vegas collection in Room 202. Office hours are posted on the door. Although it is titled a “Las Vegas” collection, it also includes maps and documents from the general Southern Nevada area.


Monday, 17-Dec-2012 10:49:51 PST