This information has been provided for librarians, instructors, faculty and other educators interested in learning more about Searchpath.

What is Searchpath?
Who Is It Designed For?
How Can Instructors Effectively Use Searchpath with their Courses?
Does Searchpath Replace Library Instruction?

What Is Searchpath?
Searchpath is a new resource for U-M students, a self-instructional tutorial to teach them basic library and research skills. It covers the research process from initial topic selection to citation styles and the issue of plagiarism. There is a link to Searchpath on the Undergraduate Library home page or it can be accessed directly from
Its content is organized into six modules:

1 - Starting smart an overview that introduces students to various types of sources.
2 - Choosing a topic which provides tips on broadening and narrowing a topic and discusses search concepts.
3 - Finding Books which has live practice searches in our online catalog.
4 - Finding articles in which students can practice searching the Periodical Abstracts database.
5 - Using the Web which includes the comparative evaluation of Web sources.
6 - Citing sources a module that also includes the topics of plagiarism and copyright.

Each of the six sections takes about 10-15 minutes to complete, and students can do this on their own time outside of class. Each of the modules is followed by a short quiz.

Who Is It Designed For?
U-M Searchpath is designed primarily for introductory-level research classes. It can be used with any class that has a library research component.

How Can Instructors Effectively Use Searchpath with Their Courses?
Please have students complete Searchpath before they begin their research or attend a library session. Students can complete Searchpath on their own time and submit their quiz results to you.

Each module is followed by a short quiz and a results page, which provides a summary of questions answered right or wrong and an overall percentage score for that module. The results pages can be printed out with the student’s name at the top and submitted to you as proof of completion. We have not assigned a "passing grade" for these results, but leave that to your discretion, (e.g., whether or not you consider 80%, etc. a passing score). Many instructors have chosen to give extra credit points to students who complete Searchpath.

Does Searchpath Replace Library Instruction?
No! We continue to offer course-related library instruction and hope that you will incorporate it into your syllabus. Timing is important! Please schedule library instruction with us for a date after your class has received a research assignment, so students learn about searching databases at a time when they need to know this information. Also, we generally do not offer instruction sessions without an accompanying assignment. Research has shown that:

  • Students learn best and retain most when they need the information.
  • Library instruction is more effective when the course instructor is present.
  • Library instruction is more effective when coordinated with a class assignment.

The library has its own electronic instructional facility.* Please schedule early to reserve the date and time you need -- preferably call us two weeks ahead. Requests will be filled on a first-come basis. We can also arrange a library instruction session. Contact:

Barb Reed, phone: 763-5084, email: or
Debbie Tenofsky, phone: 763-9761, email:

*If necessary we can hold sessions in ITCS Sites labs.

Module choice Exit