Elizabeth Price and Rebecca Richardson are this week’s #RacerScholars

Rebecca Richardson
Elizabeth Price

Research and Instruction Librarians Elizabeth Price and Rebecca Richardson are this week’s #RacerScholars. Their paper, “Integrating the thematic approach into information literacy courses,” was published in the February 2015 edition of Reference Services Review, an Emerald publication.



Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to review selected publications in library-related literature and discuss the thematic approach to course design in colleges and universities and how it has been implemented into information literacy (IL) courses.

Design/methodology/approach – A literature review of peer-reviewed journals, professional journals, magazines and blogs contextualizes the thematic approach to instruction at the college and university levels. Search terms included “thematic approach”, “thematic approach in education” and “theme-based instruction”; the search was restricted to articles published in the past 20 years. Findings – In addition to the IL courses, thematic-based instruction has been used in biology, chemistry, English, French literature, history, mathematics, philosophy and sociology courses in college and university campuses. While instructors report that the thematic approach enhances student learning, few studies have directly tested the impact. No studies have been published within the library science literature.

Originality/value – Thematic approach is a newer concept in the world of IL instruction. While many professional journal articles and blog posts provide in-depth case studies of how thematic-based instruction has been implemented, this article draws from all disciplines and features a succinct summary of what works, what does not work and how to best implement a thematic approach in an IL course.

Integrating the thematic approach into information literacy courses
By Elizabeth Price and Rebecca Richardson
Reference Services Review: Feb 2015, vol. 43(1), pgs. 125-136
DOI: 10.1108/rsr-12-2014-0059


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