Pre-Conference Workshop (Optional) 

Assessing Prior Research Experience: Using Qualitative Analysis to Uncover Student's

Conception of the Research Process 

Brianne Markowski
Assistant Professor and Head of Information Literacy and Undergraduate Support, University of Northern Colorado

Rachel Dineen
Assistant Professor in Information Literacy and Undergraduate Support, University of Northern Colorado

Thursday, May 7, 2020

1:30-4:30pm at the Ann Arbor Marriott Ypsilanti

Cost per person: $95

***This pre-conference workshop has been cancelled***  

We know that students bring unique skills and knowledge to the information literacy classroom, and that building on those experiences can promote meaningful learning. Many assessments of students’ prior experiences with research focus on how many research papers they’ve previously written or if they’ve used the library, but what do students think about when they think about the research process? To learn more about our students’ conception of the research process, we asked students to reflect on a time they had to research something for school and to map their own personal research process, from the moment they were presented with a research project to the time they submitted the assignment. This assessment method was selected to feel authentic to the classroom, to allow for rich and detailed responses, and to open discussions about students’ prior experiences with research. Through analysis of these maps, we were able to identify major themes regarding the research process from the student point of view. These findings have challenged our assumptions about student research habits and influenced our curricular and pedagogical decisions.

In this workshop, participants will work in groups to qualitatively analyze a sample of student research process maps. Using Braun and Clarke’s (2006) thematic analysis process, we will collaboratively explore what we can learn from these artifacts. We will discuss how students’ conceptions of the research processes compare to our own and how these similarities and differences may impact our approaches to the information literacy classroom. Participants will leave with a plan for adapting this assessment process to their local context.

Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77-101. doi:10.1191/1478088706qp063oa


Participants will:

  • Apply a thematic analysis process to a sample of students’ research process maps.
  • Reflect on how their understanding of the research process may differ from novice students.
  • Draft a plan to adapt this assessment process to participant’s local context.


3 hours

Required equipment

Participants will be provided with all materials needed for the workshop.


No payment, as this pre-conference has been cancelled. If you have already paid, a refund will be issued; if you do not receive one by April 24, 2020, email