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      <page pageid="29" ns="0" title="Research for a Position Paper - Globalization">
          <rev contentformat="text/x-wiki" contentmodel="wikitext" xml:space="preserve">== Learning Outcomes ==

Students should gain familiarity with the following elements of information literacy and specific information resources.

'''Information Literacy:'''
* The need to narrow a research topic to manageable size.
* The bewildering disorganization and quantity of information available on the Internet.
* How to evaluating Internet sources.
* How to frame a research question.
* The relative advantages of scholarly, popular, and professional content types.
* How to use controlled vocabulary, Boolean operators, filters, etc.

* Sources of background or editorial information like specialized encyclopedias.
* A journal aggregator or article database.
* The library catalog.

== Premise ==

Darla has to write a position paper for her Freshman English course. She needs to pick a controversial topic and investigate the arguments on both sides, then write a paper explaining her own position on the issue, supported by a variety of secondary sources. Darla isn't sure what she wants to write her paper about, but she's heard a lot about globalization in the news and figures that's a good place to start. (The librarian may want to use a news story or video about protests over globalization at a recent WTO or G8 summit in order to capture students' attention.)

== Preliminary Discussion ==

This is a common scenario in undergraduate education: Darla needs help researching and writing a paper on a topic she doesn't know much about and which may have little to do with her major. What's more, she may have little understanding of the types of information resources available to her and how to apply them to her project.

Asking students where they turn when they need to know something about anything usually results in answers like the Internet, Google, or Wikipedia. A Google search on &quot;globalization&quot; produces over 16 million results. This provides an opportunity to demonstrate the vast quantities of information available and the need to narrow the topic to something more specific. The opportunity may also be taken to demonstrate principles of information literacy relevant to the Internet, such as timeliness, credibility, bias, etc.

== Narrowing the Topic ==

During the preliminary discussion it should be made clear that the first question Darla must ask herself is &quot;What about globalization?&quot; - which aspect of this vast topic does she want to focus on?

The librarian can discuss a variety of resources (including the aforementioned Internet sources) that will provide introductory or background information about globalization, giving Darla enough general knowledge to determine in which direction she wants to take her paper. Possibilities include specialized encyclopedias like ''Globalization: Encyclopedia of Trade, Labor, and Politics'', edited by Ashish K. Vaidya and published by ABC-CLIO in 2006. Databases providing content at this level are another good source, such as CQ Researcher or Gale's Opposing Viewpoints Research Center.

If the librarian demonstrates an online resource that multiple users can access, students should be invited to spend several minutes using the resource to explore the topic of globalization. Putting themselves in Darla's shoes, several volunteers can be invited to point out items they found interesting and explain which aspect of globalization it might lead them to focus on.

== Framing a Research Question ==

The librarian can select an idea from one of the volunteers and use it to re-frame the research problem. For example, rather than just globalization, the narrowed topic may be globalization and child labor. Students may find it helpful to couch the topic as a question: &quot;Does globalization cause suffering by promoting child labor?&quot; Students can then think of their research process as the quest to find an answer to this question, and the resulting paper or presentation as an expression of their answer.

== Scholarly Resources ==

The librarian can now focus students' attention on resources that will help them delve further into the narrowed topic. This is a good opportunity to discuss the differences between scholarly and non-scholarly resources, and the relative strengths and weaknesses of books, newspaper articles, magazine articles, and peer-reviewed articles.

An index or full-text database containing scholarly journals with relevant content should be demonstrated, preferably one that allows the demonstration of controlled vocabulary, Boolean operators, filters, and other tools. Students should then be given time to explore the database, with the purpose of finding articles that would help provide an answer to the research question. Several should be invited to share their discoveries.

== Non-Scholarly Resources ==

If appropriate to the students' needs, a resource for non-scholarly articles could also be demonstrated. Students could be given time to explore this resource, with the task of finding articles that demonstrate the strengths of such sources, such as currency or coverage of tightly focused topics.

Depending on the resources used, this section could be combined with the previous section.

== Books (Optional) ==

The librarian may also demonstrate how to identify relevant books, find them in the library, and determine whether they are scholarly and whether other issues, such as bias, may affect the content.

== Wrap Up ==

To conclude the librarian should rehearse the progress made in narrowing the topic and framing it as a research question. While doing so the librarian should reiterate the principles of information literacy discovered, using the examples provided by student volunteers as evidence when possible. Students should be reminded that different approaches or strategies may be more appropriate for other topics, but that those principles of information literacy still apply. Finally, students should be pointed to handouts or library web pages where they can find additional resources similar to those explored in class, including subject-specific resources.

Ideally there will be significant time remaining for students to begin pursuing their individual research interests, practicing the techniques taught during the session. This will solidify their learning and make it more personally relevant.

== Note: ==

Experience has shown that freshmen with a general assignment like this may be better engaged if the librarian solicits a topic from them rather than using a &quot;canned&quot; topic like globalization. The outline of the case above can easily be adapted to any topic students might volunteer, though this will require greater confidence from the librarian in her ability to adequately cover resources appropriate to volunteered topics. Alternatively, during each &quot;hands-on&quot; portion of instruction students could be encouraged to use the tools to research their own topics. For instance, after giving students time to explore background resources the librarian can then ask for volunteers to say what their original topic was, what tool they used to learn more, what their narrowed topic will be, and how they will phrase it as a question. Then, after being given time to explore scholarly resources, students can volunteer to share their research question and samples of data or article titles they discovered that would be relevant. In this way different topics will be addressed at each step, but the overall process will remain relevant to all.

== Submitted By ==

Andy Spackman (with thanks to Kimball Benson for his advice)&lt;br&gt;
Business and Economics Librarian&lt;br&gt;
Brigham Young University&lt;br&gt;

Originally Submitted: September 28, 2009</rev>
      <page pageid="5" ns="0" title="Securities Analyst Reports - The NPO Portfolio">
          <rev contentformat="text/x-wiki" contentmodel="wikitext" xml:space="preserve">== Learning Outcomes ==

Students should gain familiarity with the following elements of business information literacy and specific information resources.

'''Information Literacy:'''
* Understanding the types of information freely available on Yahoo! Finance, the sources of that information, and the types of information that are offered for a fee or are unavailable.
* Understanding the different sources and methodologies paid services use in providing information.
* Access alternatives after graduation and ethical use of information.

* Yahoo! Finance or similar free service.
* Several paid services from vendors like Morningstar, Value Line, S&amp;P NetAdvantage, or Mergent.

== Premise ==

Yahoo! Finance is great, but how does it compare to pay services like Morningstar, Value Line, and S&amp;P's NetAdvantage?

The purpose of this case is to compare sources of information on securities (stocks, bonds, and funds) from a free resource, like Yahoo! Finance, with subscription-based services licensed by the library or available to individual subscribers. While there are many of these to choose from, the case uses Morningstar Library Edition, Value Line Research Center, and S&amp;P NetAdvantage.  Switching these for other resources should be easy, though every resource will vary in coverage and in strengths and weaknesses, all of which the librarian should be prepared to discuss.

To give the case structure and establish parameters for students' exploration of the resources, the librarian should select a local non-profit, charitable organization (NPO) with which students will be familiar and suggest a scenario where the NPO has hired the students to manage the organization's endowment. While exploring the resources students must create a portfolio of investments for the NPO.

== Preliminary Discussion ==

The librarian can begin with a discussion in which students collectively make assumptions about the ideal characteristics of the portfolio. The librarian can assist with well-placed questions. They will likely conclude that since the portfolio represents an NPO's endowment it should be conservative and risk-averse. One way to reduce risk is through diversification, so stocks, bonds, funds, and cash deposits should all be included. The parameters defined by these assumptions will make the limited time available for exploring the resources more effective. But it should be emphasized that the librarian is not teaching investment strategies or analysis techniques. The librarian is only using these assumptions as a vehicle for exploring information sources.

== Yahoo! Finance ==

Many students will be familiar with Yahoo! Finance ( For those who aren't, the librarian can briefly demonstrate how to look up a stock, and point out Yahoo!'s user-friendly real-time and historical data. Mention should also be made of the other kinds of securities information and educational materials Yahoo! provides. The stock screener and the analyst opinions provided by Yahoo! can also be highlighted. When looking at the analyst opinions it should be pointed out that, like all the information on Yahoo! Finance, these are aggregated from a variety of third parties. Further only the bottom-line opinions are provided (buy, sell, hold, etc.). To obtain the actual analyst reports a user would have to purchase them, which Yahoo! facilitates.

This provides an excellent opportunity to discuss the kinds of financial information that are freely available, and the premium content that is typically available by purchase only.

== Value Line ==

As with Yahoo!, the librarian can demonstrate how to access Value Line, how to bring up a specific stock, including Value Line's proprietary analyst reports and ratings. Some of the ratings, such as the Timeliness and Technical ratings, may require some explanation. Value Line's unique strengths and coverage of options and convertibles should be highlighted. The librarian can then demonstrate the stock screener, calling special attention to Value Line's ability to screen on social responsibility indicators.

Students can now be given a few minutes to perform their own screening, defining parameters that they believe will produce stocks that fit the desired characteristics of the NPO's portfolio. They may, for instance, select large, slow growing but reliable stocks. They may also make selections based on social responsibility. For instance, the NPO may not wish to invest in stocks that are related to the adult entertainment industry or companies involved in labor disputes.

A couple students should be invited to share with the group the parameters they set and some of the stocks that resulted from the screening. Note should be made of these tickers for later use.

== S&amp;P NetAdvantage ==

The librarian can now introduce NetAdvantage, discussing the many kinds of information S&amp;P provides through this database and its unique strengths. Students should be shown how to access S&amp;P's analyst reports on stocks and industries, and how to find the stock screener. However, the librarian may choose instead to demonstrate the bond screener in order to address a different class of security. A discussion of the characteristics of bonds that would be desirable for the NPO's portfolio may result in factors like a high credit rating, a high yield to maturity, and a willingness to invest in bonds that will not mature for many years.

Students can then take a few minutes to experiment with the bond screener, after which several students can explain the parameters they set and some of the bonds that resulted.

== Morningstar ==

The librarian can follow the same pattern in demonstrating Morningstar, describing its unique strengths, and demonstrating how to find Morningstar's analyst reports and stock screener. In this instance the librarian may choose to demonstrate the fund screener in order to introduce yet another type of security. After a discussion of desirable characteristics for funds in the NPOs portfolio, students can take several minutes to experiment, after which one or two students can report the settings they used and the funds that resulted.

After this discussion the librarian can turn attention to the Portfolio X-Ray tool. By inserting the tickers for the stocks and funds (unfortunately bonds cannot be included) identified during the course of the case by students, the librarian can demonstrate how the Portfolio X-Ray tool can be used to assess a portfolio's diversity. Most likely, this will effectively demonstrate that crafting a well-balanced portfolio is not a simple task, but that the screeners and other tools the students have experienced can assist in accomplishing such a task.

== Wrap Up ==

While creating a portfolio is not a job that can be done during a 50-minute library instruction session--at least not a portfolio any sane person would invest in--the assumptions made in this case should allow students to explore sources for data and analyst reports and recommendations on securities. A review of some of the key differences between the various resources, including their strengths, weaknesses, and areas of coverage, can be useful. The librarian can also review the earlier discussion of the kinds of information available from free resources, verses those available from paid services, emphasizing the aggregations and actual analysis.

Students may inquire about access after graduation, creating an opportunity to discuss that issue and describe public library resources and access models available for individuals.

== Submitted By ==

Andy Spackman&lt;br&gt;
Business and Economics Librarian&lt;br&gt;
Brigham Young University&lt;br&gt;

Originally Submitted: February 9, 2009

*A copy of the handout created to accompany this case as conducted at Brigham Young University in February 2010 can be downloaded [ here].</rev>