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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Reference Interview and Instruction in Reference Training

This guide accompanies the U of I Library graduate assistant training session.

Question Negotiation Practice

Directions

We're going to try to divide you into pairs in Zoom breakout rooms.

  • Patrons select a topic from the Topics for Reference Interview handout linked below and approach the librarian at the "desk"
  • Librarians begin the reference interview by restating the question and then using the open and closed questions in the box below this one
  • Keep in mind what we discussed about how to negotiate the question as well as incorporating RUSA behavioral guidelines 1: Visibility/Approachability, 2: Interest, and 3: Listening/Inquiring
  • Share experiences with the whole group

Open and Closed Questions

Open Questions

  • Can you give me an example of the kind of information you are looking for on...?
  • What interests you about...?
  • Could you describe the type of information you are hoping to find about...?
  • How in-depth would you like your research to be?

Closed Questions

  • What class is this for?
  • How many and what types of sources do you need for this paper?
  • Do you need background information, statistics, or research studies?