Skip to Main Content

Scaffolding Instruction Toolkit: Capstone & Graduate Students

Background information, tools, resources, and ideas for learning more about and implementing scaffolded instruction

Pedagogy for Teaching Capstone & Graduate Students

Capstone & Graduate Students: Highlighted Strategies

  • Just do it! Don't worry about the format of your instruction (synchronous or asynchronous). Instead, focus on the content. 
  • Start at the beginning: Don't assume senior and graduate students have prior library knowledge. Reinforce basic library skills. 
  • Meet them where they are: Relate library searches and research to popular modalities such as Google and Amazon. 
  • Collaborate with faculty: Information literacy instruction is more effective if it is tied to a specific assignment. Work with faculty ahead of time to make sure your instruction is timely and relevant and have faculty help direct your content. 
  • Promote awareness:  Students are more likely to work with a librarian if their faculty are library advocates and promote interactions between librarians and students. 
  • Build relationships: Keep communication open, reach out to faculty regularly, follow up after instruction sessions, be available, encourage follow-up questions.

Capstone & Graduate Students: Featured Literature

ASU Library. (n.d.). Library 501: What Grad Students Need to Know about the Library. Rise 360. Retrieved March 8, 2022, from  

Highlights: An online tutorial created by ASU to orient graduate students to library services: "Library 501: What Grad Students Need to Know about the Library'': It is the first item in a series the university calls the Graduate Scholars Toolkit. It might be useful as inspiration for creating online tutorials. 

Bussell, H., Schnabel, J., & Rinehart, A. K. (2020). Meeting Graduate Student Needs: An Exploration of Disciplinary Differences. Public Services Quarterly, 16(4), 213–233.

Highlights: Survey of graduate students on research needs. 9% response rate. :/ Similar responses to PALNI’s Information Needs Assessment. Students search a variety of sources, starting with free indexes like Google, Google Scholar, and Pubmed, then going to library resources. ILL is very important. Grad students struggle developing keywords for research, and use their social networks for research topics and help (but rarely their librarian). 

Grabowsky, A., & Weisbrod, L. (2020). The Effectiveness of Library Instruction for Graduate/Professional Students: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Evidence Based Library & Information Practice, 15(2), 100–137.

Highlights: Systematic review of library instruction programs for graduate students. 12 studies made the meta-analysis, and showed that students who had library instruction in their graduate program did better in an information literacy exam. Great table showing various approaches to teaching graduate students. Interesting: “There was no significant difference in effectiveness of face-to-face, online, or hybrid formats of instruction.”

Capstone & Graduate Students: Bibliography