Bridging boundaries: Perceived roles of librarians and writing center tutors in supporting student research writing

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student success, library, writing center, writing tutors, librarians, academic success, student support


In both library and writing instruction the phrases “research skills” and “research process” are often used as stand-ins for “information literacy.” These skills are often taught or understood as separate from skills associated with the “writing process,” which has long been supported by a peer-to-peer tutoring model through writing centers. Unfortunately, in the workflow of student support systems, this often results in a compartmentalized structure in which it seems that libraries are keepers of the “research process,” and writing centers are keepers of the “writing process.”

When librarians and tutors come together at collaborative events to help students with research and writing, awareness over content boundaries builds: students do not always know whether their questions are better suited to a librarian or a tutor, and tutors and librarians identify areas of overlap and difference in instruction content and methods. This article describes and analyzes one collaborative event in order to share how students, librarians, and undergraduate peer tutors worked together to create a flexible environment in which to support the recursive nature of research and writing.