Central Library Field Trips for Kids and Teens: Research

How to Plan a Research Visit to the Library

"Research is to see what everyone else has seen, and to think what nobody else has thought." --Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

Teacher Tips

When brainstorming ideas for topics for your student's research projects, think about:

  • Are there any recent books available about this topic at the library?
  • Are the books available at the right level for my students? As an adult, are you able to find the answers you need? If not, then it may be very difficult for the students. Sometimes younger elementary students come in with research topics that can only be answered with adult or college level materials.
  • Are there enough books available at the library for each of your students to have a copy to check out?
  • Does your assignment allow students to use Homework Help/Databases for some sources?
  • How will you teach your students how to use these resources to prepare for their visit?
  • What work can you do together in the classroom so your students come prepared?
  • Need access to scholarly journals for your students beyond what you can find in our research databases? Consider getting a TexShare card from APL that you can then use for courtesy borrower privileges at the UT libraries. 

Support from the Library

  • Staff-led Library orientation to cover resources, how to find what you need, and exploration tips (20 minutes)
  • Pull books and other resources on student research topics. Teachers are asked to send assignment and specific topics ahead of time.
  • Reserve tables for student use. (Limit of 25 seats)
  • Teach Database Orientation class. Available for grades 8-12. Limited to groups of 25 or less. (30 minutes). Available as staffing allows.

Before You Visit

The Library is great for exploration and inspiration.

Your classroom is best for instruction.

​​Best Practice: Come prepared.

The most successful students will come with a list of books, have spent time researching the databases at home or at school, will have a topic they can articulate clearly, and will know their research goals for the day. 

Before you visit, help your students:​

  • Get library cards so they can check out materials and access research databases
  • Decide on a topic (ideally one that you've pre-vetted to make sure there are books/articles available at the library)
  • Talk about different kinds of resources and what you want them to use for their project, including:
  • Brainstorm keywords and keyword phrases about their topics
  • Practice how to find a book in the catalog (author, title, subject, keywords, advanced search filters, and how to narrow or widen your search)
  • Make a list of books they want to look for, including the floor, the area, and the full title and call number
  • Learn how to evaluate their search results to find the right book for their assignment
  • Know how to locate the book within the building [map]
  • Understand how to synthesize what they learn and include it in their report
  • Respect the work of the author, by citing their sources

Research Tips Bookmark for Teens

Right click each image below, and select "open image in new window" or "save image" - then print on letter size paper for bookmarks

Research Pro Tips Bookmark (side A)

Bookmarks with research tips

Research Steps Bookmark (side B)

bookmarks with a research checklist