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Information literacy standards, departmental learning outcomes, and English 250 activities for undergraduate students (ACRL, 2000; Department of Horticulture, 2002).

Information Literacy Standards Department of Horticulture Learning Outcomes English 250 Activities that Support Information Literacy Standards and Learning Outcomes
The information literate student: The horticulture graduate: In this course, students will:
Determines the nature and extent of the information needed. Defines a problem. Analyze audience and determine expectations for content.
Accesses needed information effectively and efficiently. Identifies the necessary resources. Use library resources to locate information sources that fulfill audience expectations.
Evaluates information and its sources critically and incorporates selected information into his or her knowledge base and value system. Organizes and interprets information and uses that information to propose alternative solutions and/or communicate accurately. Write formal source evaluation; create annotated bibliography; write researched stance paper with feedback from faculty member; present research to faculty in poster session.
Individually or as a member of a group, uses information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose. Presents an effective oral report; writes a concise, grammatically correct report; and debates issues in a professional manner. Write researched stance paper with feedback from horticulture faculty member; present research to faculty in poster session.
Understands many of the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information and accesses and uses information ethically and legally. Communicates correctly and professionally. Accurately summarize or refer to source material; accurately document source material accurately and precisely.

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Student worksheet assignment to evaluate quality of six information sources for use in an academic paper.

Imagine you are writing an essay for English 250 about the safety of genetically modified food. Your first step is to compile a list of reliable references about the topic. After an initial search, you have identified the following resources. Carefully consider and review them; choose two references that you would eliminate immediately for your essay and explain why.
1. Committee on Identifying and Assessing Unintended Effects of Genetically Engineered Foods on Human Health. 2004. Safety of Genetically Engineered Foods: Approaches to Assessing Unintended Health Effects. Available at (verified 14 July 2010). National Academies Press, Washington, DC.
2. Jefferson, V. (July–August 2006) The ethical dilemma of genetically modified food. Journal of Environmental Health 69 (1):33-34. (Hint: Use the electronic journal's list on the library website.)
3. Longman P, T. Grose, M. Charski, et al. 26 July 1999. The curse of Frankenfood. U.S. News & World Report 127(4):38. (Hint: Use the electronic journal's list on the library website.)
4. Magaña-Gómez, J., and A. Calderón de la Barca. January 2009. Risk assessment of genetically modified crops for nutrition and health. Nutrition Reviews 67(1):1–16. (Hint: Use the electronic journals list on the library website.)
5. Ronald, P.C. 2008. Tomorrow's table: Organic farming, genetics, and the future of food. Available at (verified 14 July 2010). (Hint: Go to the author's website for more information.) Oxford University Press, Oxford; New York.
6. Forbes, S. 24 Nov. 2008. Nutritious impact. Forbes 182(11):24–24. (Hint: Use the electronic journal's list on the library website.)

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Examples of research topics for student research project. Students select one topic.

Theme Research topics
Environment What is a “rain barrel” water conservation program and how does it benefit the individual, their community, and the environment?
When one weighs long-term human health and environmental effects with immediate profits, are biological control practices to manage pests as effective as conventional pesticides?
What horticultural practices contribute to hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico?
What are the effects of pesticides applied to a golf course on the nearby environment and what can superintendants do in order to avoid these?
How can alternative energy sources be used in horticulture?
What are the problems of soil erosion on golf courses, and should golf courses manage soil erosion by using riparian buffer strips along their waterways?
What are the management skills required by the new fungicides used in turfgrass management? In other words, what are the management skills necessary for using a wide variety of narrow spectrum fungicides rather than fewer broad spectrum fungicides?
Should golf courses be encouraged to provide habitat for songbirds and become Audubon certified golf courses?
What defines an invasive plant? Are they really a problem?
What are the potential advantages and disadvantages of having Roundup Ready bentgrass on a golf course green?
Food safety and human health What are the food safety risks for using surface water for irrigating fresh market vegetable crops, and should growers be required to document clean irrigation water?
What are the food safety issues associated with apple cider and should all apple cider be pasteurized?
If black raspberries are found to contain nutraceutical properties, is there any advantage to eating the fruit vs. the synthesized compound?
Does “eating an apple a day” really “keep the doctor away”? In other words, are the USDA recommendations of five fruits and vegetables a day keeping people healthier?
How do the developmental and educational disadvantages suffered by children and adults who are food insecure impact their lives and community?
Policy Should fruit and vegetable growers with farms that were recently surrounded by housing developments be protected from changes in zoning and lawsuits?
Why should golf courses have access to public water during a drought?
What are the advantages of horticultural therapy in nursing homes and, considering the high cost of patient healthcare, should nursing homes provide this service?
Should cities invest resources for community gardens?
Should public funds support public gardens and arboreta?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of planting genetically modified plants in developing countries?
Why should areas outside of the southwestern United States be encouraged to use xeriscaping?
Is using DDT to control mosquitoes in a region with malaria ethical?
Sustainable horticulture What are the advantages and disadvantages to the Iowa economy for eating locally grown fruits and vegetables in season compared to purchasing fruits and vegetables grown elsewhere?
Should the future U.S. Farm Bill provide direct payments for fruits and vegetables?
Organic fruits and vegetables often are more costly for consumers to purchase. What are the benefits and drawbacks of such products for consumers, producers, and the environment?

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Assessment of librarian instruction by students enrolled in English 250.†

Statement Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly disagree
I feel more confident about doing library research because of the information provided during the librarian's class presentations. 18 (22%) 59 (72%) 5 (6%) 0 (0%)
I feel confident that I can now use Academic OneFile, EBSCOHost Academic Search Elite, or other research databases to locate citations on a specific topic. 23 (28%) 55 (67%) 4 (5%) 0 (0%)
I feel confident that I can now locate books in the Parks Library online catalog related to a specific topic. 19 (23%) 59 (72%) 4 (5%) 0 (0%)
I feel confident that I can now evaluate the quality of information that I find in books, journals, newspapers, or on the web. 27 (33%) 54 (66%) 1 (1%) 0 (0%)
The librarian provided written feedback on the first draft of the annotated bibliography. Did you find the written comments useful as you revised and completed the annotated bibliography assignment? 76 (93%) 6 (7%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
I feel the quality of my annotated bibliography and research paper was better than I might have done without the librarian's input and involvement. 24 (29%) 48 (59%) 9 (11%) 1 (1%)
Assessment completed spring 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, n = 82.