2006 Research Skills Assessment Instrument

Lehigh University Library and Technology Services will be working with our faculty to develop an information literacy program for our students. This assessment of the research skills of our incoming students will help us identify those skills that are most important to this training program. Completing this assessment will make you eligible to win one of ten, $50.00 gift certificates to the Lehigh University Bookstore.Your score on this assessment will not be associated with your personal record. It will be used solely to help with the planning and design of the Information Literacy program.



1. During the past 2 years, I have used a library online catalog...
2. During the past 2 years, I have written a paper that required a bibliography or list of works cited...
3. In an online database or an online catalog, which search below would result in the greatest number of hits? Choose one:

4. You are writing a paper comparing current events in Afghanistan and Iraq. In searching an online library catalog or research database, which search would retrieve only items discussing both Afghanistan and Iraq? Choose one:

5.You need to find examples of what average Americans were reading in the 1950's about the threat of communism. What would be the best source of information?

6. The online Expanded Academic Index provides indexing for more than 1800 scholarly and general interest journals in many fields. Many article listings have links to full text. Which of the following terms would describe the Expanded Academic Index? Choose one:

7. You have just done a search on “teen smoking” in the library catalog. The search retrieved one book. Here is the catalog listing:
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Title: Combating teen smoking : research and policy strategies / Peter D. Jacobson ... [et al.]. Publication info: Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press, c2001. Physical description: viii, 299 p. : ill. ; 24 cm. Bibliography note: Includes bibliographical references (p. 261-291) and index. Subject: Teenagers--Tobacco use--United States--Prevention. Subject: Youth--Tobacco use--United States--Prevention. Subject: Smoking--United States--Prevention. Subject: Smoking--prevention & control--Adolescence—United States Subject: Health Policy--United States. Personal author: Jacobson, Peter D. LEHIGH CALL NUMBER COPY MATERIAL LOCATION 1) 362.2967 C729 1 BOOK FM-3-NORTH
What step(s) could you take to efficiently find additional books?
8. What key concepts below would be most useful in developing a search strategy for the following topic: "Does attending an all-girls school have a positive impact on girls’ academic success?" Choose one:

9. Which of the following is the best way to start if you want to locate good journal articles on a specific topic?
Choose one :
10. You have been assigned to find a primary source on the lives of slaves. Which two of the following would qualify?

11-14. The following citation is from a periodical research database.
The real challenge of multiculturalism. W.M.Chace. The Education Digest 56: 34-36 May '91.
15. To what does the following citation refer (choose one answer)?

Borzutsky, Sylvia. (1998). “Chilean democracy before and after Pinochet.” In von Mettenheim, Kurt and Malloy, James, (Eds), Deepening Democracy in Latin America. University of Pittsburgh Press: Pittsburgh, PA. Pages 89-107.
16. To what does the following citation refer (choose one answer)?

Wilson, Bruce M. Costa Rica: Politics, Economics and Democracy. Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 1998.
17. To what does the following citation refer (choose one answer)?

Branch, David. Tycho's Mystery Companion. Nature. 431:1044-1046. (28 October 2004)
18. Which of the following are considered primary sources? Choose all that apply:

19. The Art Bulletin is published quarterly by the College Art Association. It contains articles on all aspects of art history. It publishes, after “rigorous peer review, articles and critical reviews of the highest quality in all areas and periods of the history of art. Its mission is to foster an intensive engagement with intellectual developments and debates in contemporary art-historical practice.” What type of publication is this? Choose one:

20. Newsweek is published weekly. It reports on and analyzes current events and issues in the US and throughout the world. Articles cover business and financial news and issues, as well as social and technological trends that affect our everyday lives and examine important issues from multiple perspectives. What type of publication is this? Choose one:

21. You have been assigned to find a scholarly journal article on the effects of television commercials on children. Which of these items would best fulfill your assignment? Choose one:

22. Which of the following oral presentation topics requires the most current information? Choose one:

23. Which aspects of a website are important when evaluating its value as a source for a research paper? Choose all that apply:

24. You are doing research on gun control policy and have found several websites which discuss this topic. Which of the sites listed below might have the most balanced and authoritative information? Choose all that apply:

25. Suppose you are writing a research paper and you read an article on your topic. In which of the following instances would you include a citation to the article in your paper? Choose all that apply:

26. Which of these kinds of information would you not expect to be able to retrieve doing a search of Google on the open Internet? Choose all that apply:

27. In my high school, I attended a class session about library resources and research strategies that was presented by a librarian or a teacher.

28. For courses in high school, please indicate any of the following specific resources that you have used. Choose as many as apply:


29. You are reading an article about African-Americans in Springfield, Illinois. You want to confirm some of the statistics in another source. Where should you look? Choose one:


30. You are writing an article for the newspaper on the use of Ritalin and related drugs among college students. Which of the following would not be a useful source of information?


31. You cannot find very much information on your chosen topic: Does caffeine cause high blood pressure in naked mole rats? What other kinds of information would be useful to you in supporting your hypothesis? Choose all that apply:


32. You are writing a paper on the role of the chief justice of the Supreme Court. Below are some of the possible statements you might include in your paper. Which of them is an example of plagiarism?


33. Which of the following represents an inappropriate use of materials?


34. You are starting to do research for a paper about the Great Depression. You know very little about this topic. What would be a useful source to consult as you begin your research?


35. From the following excerpt, determine the key concepts that would be helpful in creating a search strategy for finding more information related to the topic:

"...the quality, speed, and effectiveness of the public health response to SARS brilliantly outshone past responses to international outbreaks of infectious disease, validating a decade's worth of progress in global public health networking. Thus, in several respects, the SARS epidemic reflected fundamental improvements in how the world responds to an outbreak of infectious disease." --Learning from SARS: Preparing for the Next Disease Outbreak -- Workshop Summary (2004), National Academies Press, http://darwin.nap.edu/books/0309091543/html/2.html