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We test whether and how well the presence of an embedded librarian improves the quality of student research. Students in introductory-level courses tend to have very low levels of research skills and experience. Though faculty are frustrated by this lack of skills, both students and faculty tend to have only a peripheral knowledge of the role librarians can play in helping develop their research skills. Studies suggest that embedding librarians into course instruction is the preferred method for improving students’ research skills, yet the political science teaching and learning literature rarely addresses this issue, or focus on single class experiences, measuring change in student knowledge and skills from the beginning to the end of a semester. We compare two International Politics courses taught in consecutive fall semesters with different levels of librarian involvement in the class. We assess the changes in quality and use of information sources in the final research papers, both from a bibliographic perspective (looking at the number, quality, and variety of sources used) as well as an information use perspective (looking at the relevance of cited material in supporting arguments).


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Political Science Education in 2016, and will be available online: