Undergraduates and Topic Selection: A Librarianâs Role

Kacy Lundstrom, Flora Shrode


Research shows that undergraduate students struggle with the initial stage of the research process, mainly identifying and defining a topic. Little current research addresses how undergraduates engage in this process, including how and where they seek help. The results of focus groups indicate that students have individual and varied methods for topic selection, but that many of them choose topics based on their perception of a few major characteristics, mainly perceived ease, pleasing the instructor/following the assignment, personal relatability and/or interest, and the ability to locate sufficient resources to research a topic. Many students identified their instructor as a person to ask for assistance, but fewer recognized a librarianâs role in this process. This article identifies how embedded librarians might better assist students with this difficult piece of the research process.


embedded librarian; topic selection; undergraduate research; librarian’s roles

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ISSN: 1947-525X