The AIR Program Research Project is a research oriented project that we use as a guide to help our students become familiar with the campus, the campus library, to give the students an introduction to research techniques at the university level, to answer questions that our students have on the campus and its social aspects, and to give them a Native topic that will hopefully intrigue them and motivate them. It is a lot that we attempt to fit in within this topical approach but we have found that it covers many of the ideals and motivation techniques for our students.
From the begning of our program we have understood that it was very common that incoming freshmen (entry level college students) often become frustrated in developing and writing research projects. Most often this develops from entering the university library where there exists hundred of thousands of books and media to choose from. Finding one book that may fit the research project becomes an exercise of “finding a needle in a haystack.” That is why the AIR Program developed a topical Research Project workshop that takes place throughout the majority of the AIR Program semester to help students with their reaserch skills and to become familiar with research at the university level.
From this begining we discovered that this topical approach has had many incidental benefits. First, it not only familiarizes the students with the campus library but also the overall campus culture and social climate. Students are able to demystify the overall campus and understand that students here are not so different from them. Second, this exercise gives the student an opportunity to discuss many educational ideals with the mentor who is assisting them. This in turns creates a trust in the overall program and motivation towards higher education. Overall, the approach has been working during our sessions and more and more students are seeking to pursue higher education and succeeding within school.
Our goal of our project:
Have the student participant first become acclimated to the university campus library. By doing this we hope to have the student become confident when researching various projects.
To teach the student some possible avenues that will reduce the time on their research. This includes using shortcuts that our mentors utilize already.
To become familiar in using librarians as a resource. Sometimes students are afraid to ask questions, therefore, we encourage the students to meet the Librarians and ask how they may help in our research project.
To utilize all resources the library has to offer. Including periodicals, Internet, journals, microfiche, and other materials.
Finally, to give presentations on their research project. This is a major focus to encourage public speaking.