Integrating Reference Practices and Information Literacy in Academic Writing: A Collaboration Between Faculty and Library

Miguel Garcia Yeste, Karin Pettersson, Anna Svensson


The aim of our presentation is to show the advantages of collaboration between faculty and library when it comes to introducing students to different aspects of academic writing. We will share our experience on integrating reference practices, reference management software (Zotero) and information searching into the curriculum.

The English Studies section at the Department of Languages and Literatures and the University Library at Gothenburg University have a history of collaboration at all undergraduate levels in order to support the development of the students’ information literacy. During 2014-2015 the courses in academic writing have been revised, which has led to rethinking the collaboration with the library. The syllabus has been redesigned following the principle of progression, so that students: (a) learn the formal aspect and style basics of academic writing (first term); (b) critically assess previous research and identify a gap for future research (second term); and (c) pose an original research question in the form of a research proposal (third term).

As a result of the close collaboration between faculty and library, the course progression described above is also reflected in the library sessions. In an attempt to address some aspects of academic and digital literacy more explicitly, the library sessions (offered to the students in the form of workshops) have been designed to: (a) use reference practices as a starting point to explore information searching and metadata; and (b) to integrate the use of digital tools specific to academia. In addition, specific tasks have been designed in collaboration between the teacher and the librarians for the students to work on during the library sessions. These tasks must then be submitted as part of the students’ coursework.

In our presentation, we discuss and evaluate the outcomes of this initiative, as well as the students’ perceptions.


academic writing, information literacy, collaboration, reference management, reference management software, Zotero


Biggs, J. B. & Tang, C. (2011). Teaching for quality learning at university: What the student does (4th ed.). Maidenhead, England: McGraw-Hill.

Childress, D. (2011). Citation tools in academic libraries: Best practices for reference and instruction. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 51(2), 143–152.

Dudley-Evans, T. & St John, M.-J. (1998). Developments in English for specific purposes. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Kim, T. (2011). Building student proficiency with scientific literature using the Zotero reference manager platform. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, 39(6), 412–415.

Salem, J. & Fehrmann, P. (2013). Bibliographic management software: A focus group study of the preferences and practices of undergraduate students. Public Services Quarterly, 9(2), 110–120.


Copyright (c) 2016 Miguel Garcia Yeste, Karin Pettersson, Anna Svensson

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

University of Bergen Library

ISSN: 1890-5900