Objective – This study aims to determine if the timing of library in-class presentations makes a difference in the type and quality of resources students use for each of four assignments in an introductory speech class. This comparison of content delivery timing contrasts a single, 50-minute lecture early in the semester with four approximately 12-minute lectures offered just before each assignment. Methods – First-year engineering students taking Fundamentals of Speech Communication provide the study group. Each speech assignment requires students to turn in an outline and list of references. The list of references for each student was given to the librarians, after the assignments were appropriately anonymized, for analysis of resource type, quality of resource, and completeness of citation. Researchers coded a random sample of bibliographies from the assignments using a framework to identify resource type (book, periodical, Web, facts & figures, unknown) and quality, based on intended audience and purpose (scholarly, entertainment, persuasion/bias), and compared them to each other to determine if a difference is evident. The authors coordinated what material would be presented to the students to minimize variation between the sections. Results – The study found a statistically significant difference between groups of students, demonstrating that the frequent, short library instruction sessions produce an increased use of high-quality content. Similarly, the sections with multiple library interactions show more use of periodicals than websites, while completeness of references is not significantly different across teaching methods. Conclusions – More frequent and timely interaction between students and library instruction increases the quality of sources used and the completeness of the citations written. While researchers found statistically significant differences, the use of a citation coding framework developed for specific engineering research and design tasks means the analysis done in this study is not as accurate as it might be with a framework designed for analyzing the resources required for researching and writing speech assignments.
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