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Information literacy -- Study and teaching, Library orientation for college students, Psychology -- Study and teaching, Social media -- Study and teaching


Purpose: In order to assess the existing landscape of research guides as instructional tools, researchers examined the instructional content and associated media formats of online psychology research guides. The study provides an understanding of current guide author practice and informs the further development of guides as key instructional tools.

Design/Methodology/Approach: Researchers devised an instrument utilizing Standard Two of the ACRL’s Psychology Information Literacy Standards and inventoried the instructional content and associated media formats of a sample set of 36 psychology research guides.

Findings: Although online research guides offer a platform for presenting instructional content in myriad formats, psychology research guides rarely incorporate instructional content. Research limitations/implications: Psychology course guides were not part of the sample set; it is possible that guide authors approach the addition of instructional content in course guides differently than more general subject guides.

Practical Implications: This paper provides an overview of how libraries are, or are not, using research guides as part of their instruction program. The researchers propose a framework for adding instructional content to psychology guides employing Standard Two.

Originality/Value: Considering the ubiquity of online research guides on academic library websites, little research on the existing integration of instructional content into guides has been published. This study offers a snapshot of current guide practice and proposes a practical, systematic, and unique model for aligning information literacy standards with guide content areas which has not been proposed elsewhere.


This article is © Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here. Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited.


This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Reference Services Review. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Reference Services Review 42(2), 293-304 and can be found online at:



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