Use of Searchpath

This information has been provided for librarians, instructors, faculty and other educators interested in learning more about Searchpath. If you have contributions or suggestions about using Searchpath, please e-mail us.

What is Searchpath?
Who Is It Designed For?
How Can Instructors Effectively Use Searchpath with their Courses?
Does Searchpath Replace Library Instruction?

What Is Searchpath?
Searchpath is a resource for Chabot students, a self-instructional tutorial to teach them basic library and research skills. It covers the research process from initial topic selection to citation styles and the issue of plagiarism. There is a link to Searchpath on the Library's home page or it can be accessed directly from
Its content is organized into six modules:

1. Starting smart is an overview that introduces students to various types of sources.
2. Choosing a topic provides tips on broadening and narrowing a topic and discusses search concepts.
3. Finding books has live practice searches in our online catalog.
4. Finding articles provides practice live searches in the EBSCOhost database.
5. Using the Web includes the comparative evaluation of Web sources.
6. Citing sources includes the topics of citing, plagiarism, and copyright.

Students can complete the tutorial on their own time outside of class. Each of its six sections takes about 15 to 35 minutes and students can complete one or more modules at a time. Each of the modules is followed by a short quiz (see details below).

Who Is It Designed For?
Searchpath is designed for students in classes with a substantial writing component, introductory-level research, or has a critical thinking requriement--especially for English 1A, English 4, English 7, French 2B, and other courses in History, Sociology, Health Sciences, and more. However, we hope instructors of other classes will find it useful and assign it to their students.

How Can Instructors Effectively Use Searchpath with Their Courses?
Please have students complete Searchpath before they begin their research or attend a library session. Students can complete Searchpath on their own time and submit their quiz results to you.   There is also a test you can get from the Library which you can integrate into your Blackboard Course Shell.  Contact Norman Buchwald for more information.

Each module is followed by a short quiz and a results page, which provides an overall percentage score for that module, as well as a summary of questions answered right or wrong. Students can either print the six results pages with their name and submit the printouts to you as proof of completion or they can save the pages and email the quiz results to you.  If you prefer, the Library can send you a test for you to put into Blackboard.  It contains twenty-five questions and you would get the results directly.

Many instructors have chosen to give extra credit points to students who complete Searchpath. We strongly suggest that students be required to pass the quizzes or the Blackboard Test with a score of at least 85% or better. Students may retake a quiz as many times as they want to improve their score.

Does Searchpath Replace Library Instruction?
No! We continue to offer course-related library instruction and hope that you will incorporate a library session into your syllabus. Timing is important! Have your students complete Searchpath, then schedule library instruction with us for a date after they've received an assignment. Then they will learn about searching databases when they need these skills to complete their research assignment. Research has shown that:

  • Students learn best and retain most when they need the information.
  • Library instruction is more effective when the course instructor is present.
  • Library instruction is more effective when coordinated with a class assignment.

Chabot Library has an electronic classroom, which librarians use for computer demonstrations and hands-on training. These are heavily booked, so please schedule early to reserve the date and time you need--call us at least one week ahead. Requests will be filled on a first-come basis.

To arrange a library instruction session, please fill out the online Library Instruction Request form, or pick a paper copy at the reference desk. 

For Distance Education courses, we strongly recommend you make SearchPath a requirement for the entire class (if a student has taken it before, have them complete the test the Library provides).  Make sure to encourage students to come to the Library if they live in the metro area (ask them to plan to do research in the Library for at least an hour).  If they do not live in the metro area or are unable to, please make a point to inform them about the Library web pages and instructions on how to access databases off-campus.   Librarians do provide assistance through E-Mail and phone.