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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Reference Interview Training

Reference Interview Training

Searching Practice


Remain in your established groups of librarians and patrons.

  • Patrons should use their prior topic from the Topics for Reference Interview handout and approach the librarians at the "desk"
  • Librarians should pick up the reference interview from the prior point by restating the question and seeking any additional clarification about the kind of information and source expectations of the patron
  • Focus on RUSA Guidelines #4: Searching and #5: Follow Up
  • Reverse roles
  • Share experiences with the whole group

Open and Closed Questions

Open Questions

  • What would the ideal search result look like to you?
  • What are some other search terms/keywords that might describe your topic?
  • How do the search results seem to be organized?

Closed Questions

  • Where have you searched so far? What search terms/keywords have you used?
  • Have you used (the catalog, this database, etc.) before?
  • Do you know how to get the full text/physical copies of these search result items?
  • Do you know what (citations, subject headings, abstracts, etc.) are and how you can use them?