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Literature and Writing Research

GEW Instruction

Getting Started

Useful Links for GEW Instructors:

Guide to GEW Library Instruction

Syllabus Guidelines  (at CSUSM Faculty Center)

Library Reserves/E-Res

Library reserves are a specialized, limited loan collection held at the Check Out Desk of the library (third floor or media is on the second floor) or available electronically. Electronically delivered material is served through a password-protected site linked through the library catalog, the course web page created by the librarian, or your WebCT course.

Reasons for placing material on reserve can be that there are large number of students researching the same topic and trying to access a limited number of print material that could otherwise be borrowed and taken from the library. Or the instructor has a single copy of a book, video or print article that everyone needs to read/view. Placing materials on reserve resolves the problems in getting more copies due to reproduction restrictions, copyright, or cost that can prevent an instructor from providing students with individual copies.

Material can be brought in hard copy and library staff will scan to PDF, or you can submit your own electronic files. Library materials can be placed on reserve as well, so that the one copy we own doesn't get checked out for a month when your students will be needing it. Be aware that processing or loading files will take some time and check with the staff for lead time needed. There are preset circulation limits of 2 hours, 1 day or 3 days--which circulation period is your choice. Electronically delivered material does not require circulation limits and can be accessed from anywhere with the correct password.

Since GEW has moved to a model of common readings for all sections, the librarian may select some materials for 'all GEW sections' reserve.

Full information on guidelines is on Managing your Library Reserves

GEW/Library Instruction

The information provided here is to help implement appropriate and successful course-integrated library resource instruction for your students. The guide points given below are specific to CSUSM but developed from proven pedagogical practices.

You may wish to provide research resource instruction yourself, or have the Humanities Librarian work with your class. In either instance, for further assistance contact the Humanities Librarian.

Related Links:

General GEW Resources


Library Resource Instruction 

As you have experienced during your own academic career, there is an ever-increasing variety of resources and methods to access information. Google seems to be the "first-year favorite", but it certainly does not meet university-level scholarly research needs. Research has shown many first year students do not have sufficiently-developed critical thinking skills to successfully manage the choices and research methods available to them. Library instruction is one way to help them develop these needed skills.  

The librarians at CSUSM have knowledge and experience working with these resources and the constantly shifting research landscape. They also have the subject expertise and willingness to provide assignment-specific instruction to help your students with their research. This should result in:

  • Better quality papers as students will know how to access scholarly and reliable resources
  • Hands-on practice to reinforce learning
  • Online support in the form of a web page specifically designed for your class and prompt
  • Reduction of plagiarism due to the student accessing needed materials efficiently and appropriately
  • Less work for you in the classroom (at least one day you can sit back and participate without lecturing!)


Instruction Space

The CSUSM Library has three instruction labs in the University Library. These labs are for librarian-provided instruction and are each configured in a different arrangement to meet the needs of a particular teaching process tailored to either individual or group work.

The 'favorite' room for GEW instruction is KEL 3400 which places the students next to the reference collection for basic research needs. The room easily accommodates the 20 students in a GEW class. As there are a number of librarians sharing these rooms, scheduling early is advised!

Instruction labs are available from 7 AM to 9 PM and must be arranged through the librarian providing instruction. Multiple meetings may be arranged with sufficient notice, but not semester-length courses.

If a library lab is not available, instruction can be scheduled in your regular classroom or a campus computer lab.


Scheduling Instruction

Contact the Humanities Librarian via email, phone (750-760-4374) or drop by KEL 3424 (office hours vary, but if I am in, the door is open). If for some reason, the Humanities Librarian is unavailable, contact the Teaching & Learning Coordinator.

Here are some tips to aid in making the scheduling easy and instruction successful.

  • Contact the librarian to schedule early for inclusion in your instruction schedule.
  • Plan for the library resource instruction to take the full class session.
  • The students must have read the targeted text prior to the library resource meeting. It does not serve the students well to present on resources for a work they have not become familiar with and have not begun to think about or discuss.
  • Please advise the librarian of your CRN number, number of students in class and any special details such as the class is a learning cohort, ESL or if there are DSS students that will need special accommodation.
  • Email your syllabus and paper prompt to the librarian to support the customized web page your class will be viewing. The librarian is available for review of the proposed prompt for resource availability (and would appreciate the 'heads up'.)
  • Prepare the librarian by describing where the students will be in the text, what problems you have encountered in previous work and what you would like to see emphasized (see Options.)
  • Prepare the students during the class session BEFORE the library instruction with what you expect them to learn, where they will be meeting, and that they are expected to arrive on time. There is no time for 'catch up' if they are late.
  • Plan on attending. Studies show the interaction between the faculty is attendance benefits the students' learning as well as provides an authority for answers about non-library but course-related matters.


Instruction Options

The Humanities Librarian is available to work with you to create assignments that are successful for both student learning and your instruction.

  • Library resource instruction is not a 'canned presentation' although there are standard elements:
    • Library Catalog
    • Research Databases
    • Search techniques: Boolean, keyword vs. subject, field searches
    • Alternative search terms
    • GET IT and Interlibrary Loan for materials outside the library's collection
    • Internet techniques: domain limiters, quality sources
    • Citation style sources
  • Optional elements that are included to a lesser degree, but can be expanded are:
    • scholarly vs. popular sources
    • full text sources vs. abstracts
    • Plagiarism vs. proper citation
    • Primary vs. secondary sources
  • Instruction can be split into several shorter sessions to address topics in more detail (research has shown this to be successful), place needed instruction at the most appropriate point, or allow more hands-on time.
  • Different active learning exercises can be designed to accommodate research emphases.
  • Paper-based exercises may be provided in lieu of relying on the electronic in order to encourage variety.


A collection of links to helpful sites on  effective learning through well-designed and implemented assignments. The Humanities Librarian is available to work with you to create assignments that are successful for both student learning and your instruction.

Assessing Learning

CSUSM is committed not only to aiding student success, but assessing improvement and identifying learning needs through assessment. Here are CSU and other links to assessment tools and strategies.

Pedagogy Resources

The following is a selective list of resources for teaching writing with a first-year emphasis.

Research Databases

The research databases are acquired to support the courses taught at CSUSM. The following databases provide either full text or abstracts of articles from thousands of journals and other sources on good pedagogy, learning styles, classroom management, and much more on teaching rhetoric and writing.

Some databases, such as MLA, do not offer full text of the articles. Use the Check SFX for Availability button to check our other resources for full text.

Most Useful

Project Muse
Full-text coverage for hundreds of scholarly journals in the humanities, social sciences, and mathematics

Contains complete full-text back files (EXCEPT for the latest five years) of core scholarly journals in such areas as sociology, history, economics, political science, mathematics, African-American studies, Asian studies and others.

A national database of education literature, including reports and journal articles.

Also Useful

Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts (LLBA)
Provides abstracts of articles from about 2,000 journals (published worldwide), coverage of recent books, book review citations and dissertation listings.

Includes abstracts of articles from critical literary and language journals.

Provides full text access to over 1,000 journals covering all fields of science.

Books at Cal State San Marcos

To search for books, you will use our library search. It is easy to extend your search to other local academic libraries (Circuit) or the world (WorldCat), but for convenience, start with our local collection.

Library OneSearch
Search our local collection of approximately 250,000 books. Use either keywords or subject headings. Some subject headings for teaching writing are:

College prose -- Evaluation
English language -- Composition and exercises
English language -- Composition and exercises -- Research -- Methodology
English language -- Grammar -- Study and teaching (Higher)
English language -- Rhetoric -- Study and teaching
Language arts -- Correlation with content subjects

Other Options (use the same subject headings as our catalog)

Circuit (1-3 day delivery)
Search the collections of other San Diego area libraries -- about 3,000,000 books. Find and request books directly online; pick them up at our Library in 1-3 days.

WorldCat (5-10 day delivery)
Search the collections of libraries world-wide -- about 52,000,000 books. Find a book in this database, and fill-out an Interlibrary Loan delivery request. Book will be delivered to the Library for pickup.

See these links for more:

Accessible Syllabus Template (Word Doc) (at CSUSM Faculty Center)

Creative Writing Helps (Bibliography assembled by the CSUSM Humanities Librarian)
Resources for Writing and Writing Instructors
Rhetoric and Composition
Rhetoric Page at Kettering University
Using Writing to Teach (Full-text book from Syracuse University, this is a 2.6 mb PDF file, so a bit slow to load, but can download chapters)

Professional Organizations


Plagiarism is an issue faced by all instructors at some point in their teaching career. The links below are provided to help you address the issue before it happens and when it does happen.