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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Reference Interview Training

Reference Interview Training

Content Factors Practice

Directions
In small groups, divide into librarians and patrons.
Patrons
will build upon the character sketch and research question from the prior
exercise.
o
Take a minute to write down some areas of the topic that you think would
interest your character, based on the content handout.
o
Do not share with librarian
wait for them to prompt you with appropriate
questions.
o
Improvise as needed, acting as you feel yo
ur character might.
Librarians
will ask open and closed questions to find out more about the content needs
of their patron, based on the content handout.
o
Continue to listen for relational cues from the patron.
Outcomes:
Have a conversation with a patron
until you feel comfortable that you know more
details about what the patron is looking for, and are ready to articulate a search strategy
to them.
Restate the question to be sure you are on the same page
Directions
In small groups, divide into librarians and patrons.
Patrons
will build upon the character sketch and research question from the prior
exercise.
o
Take a minute to write down some areas of the topic that you think would
interest your character, based on the content handout.
o
Do not share with librarian
wait for them to prompt you with appropriate
questions.
o
Improvise as needed, acting as you feel yo
ur character might.
Librarians
will ask open and closed questions to find out more about the content needs
of their patron, based on the content handout.
o
Continue to listen for relational cues from the patron.
Outcomes:
Have a conversation with a patron
until you feel comfortable that you know more
details about what the patron is looking for, and are ready to articulate a search strategy
to them.
Restate the question to be sure you are on the same page

Directions

In small groups, divide into librarians and patrons.

  • Patrons will build upon the character sketch and research question from the prior exercise. 
    • Take a minute to write down some areas of the topic that you think would interest your character, based on the content handout.
    • Do not share with librarian – wait for them to prompt you with appropriate questions.
    • Improvise as needed, acting as you feel your character might.
  • Librarians will ask open and closed questions to find out more about the content needs of their patron, based on the content handout.
    • Continue to listen for relational cues from the patron.

Outcomes:

  • Have a conversation with a patron until you feel comfortable that you know more details about what the patron is looking for, and are ready to articulate a search strategy to them.
  • Restate the question to be sure you are on the same page

As a reminder, here are the character sketches from the relational goals practice:

 

  1. Student A is a first-year student taking a rhetoric class (this is equivalent to English composition). They received their assignment for their argumentative paper earlier this week and they have a broad topic in mind.
  2. Student B is a graduate student who is finishing up their coursework and they have started to write their dissertation. While they know quite a bit about most of their area of research, there are other parts about which they are not very familiar.
  3. Faculty Member X has worked at the U of I for 40 years. They are not very tech-savvy, but have a question about which they think they simply need “a quick nod in the right direction.”

Here are some ways that you might expand upon the sketches: Student A is now a junior working in their major. Student B is now ABD. Professor X is now ready to find a journal to which they can submit their article.