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Information Literacy Pathways for CAS: Pathways: Professional Writing

This research guide outlines the instructional support provided by UAB librarians regarding a variety of subject areas.


The Department of English offers programs of study leading to the degree of Bachelor of Arts with a major or minor in English. The department offers four tracks to the English major: an English major with a concentration in literature, an English major with a concentration in professional writing, an English major with a concentration in creative writing, and an English major with a concentration in linguistics. The department offers four different minors: a minor in English literature, a minor in professional writing, a minor in creative writing, and a minor in linguistics. The Department of English also offers courses leading to the Master of Arts degree in English.

Library Instruction

The UAB Library Research & Instruction program is committed to providing the following support to the Department of Professional Writing:

  • Library Instruction is available to any instructor that has an identifiable need for research support in his or her EH course.
  • Research consultations are available to all Professional Writing students by request. These consultations generally cover topic selection, locating primary and secondary sources, navigating databases, citing sources, and research methodologies.


Before, during or after students’ library instruction, the librarian will distribute a pre-assessment to determine how well students have retained the objectives from the previous library instruction.

At the end of each semester the English Literature Liaison Librarian will distribute a survey to every participating faculty member to determine faculty perceptions of student research skills.

Information Skills Pathway: Professional Writing

Three library instruction contact points are recommended for the majors in the Department of Professional Writing. These contact points are connected to the Department of Professional Writing’s course requirements:

Level One

Library instruction session for Creative Writing students during their sophomore year. 

  • Learning Outcomes
    • Identify steps in research process
      • Identify topic
        • Narrowing or broadening your search
      • Define research question
      • Look at background information on topic -i.e. background databases like Opposing Viewpoints
      • Note keywords used
      • Search using keywords
      • Read and evaluate
      • Answer research question 
    • Recognize appropriate databases for research needs
      • Evaluating resources – popular versus scholarly resources
    • Brainstorming for keywords based on topic
    • Identify appropriate research guides
      • EH 212: Diaspora Literature
      • EH 212: Forms of Literature
      • EH 213: Global Literature
      • EH 213: Ideas in Literature
      • EH 213: Lost Children
      • EH 213: Love and Loss in Literature
      • EH 213: The Vietnam War in Literature & Film
      • EH 213: Wicked Witches and Charming Princes
      • EH 217: World Literature I (Before 1660)
      • EH 218: World Literature II (1660-Present)
      • EH 221: British and Irish Literature before 1800
      • EH 222: British & Irish Literature II (1800-Present)
      • EH 223: American Literature I (Before 1865)
      • EH 224: American Literature II (1865-Present)

Level Two

Library instruction session for Professional Writing students during their junior year. 

  • Searching specific databases for professional writing samples
  • Nonprofits organizations, publishing companies, manufacturing, medical institution, legal offices, etc. 
  • Web design, copy for the launching of r new products, digital projects
    • Citing in various formats
      • MLA (Modern Language Association) Style, 8th Edition
      • Citation Styles
    • Memorandum – official newsletter for UAB’S professional writing program and MA program in rhetorical and composition
    • Identify appropriate research guides
      • EH 301: Reading, Writing, and Research for Literature

Level Three

Library instruction session for Professional Writing students during their senior year. 

  • Learning Outcomes
    • Finding primary and secondary sources using advanced search strategies
    • Using truncations
    • Using direct phrases
    • Identify appropriate research guides
      • EH 426/526: Avengers & Valkyries: Gender in Medieval Epic
      • EH 427/527: Multicultural Britain
      • EH 444/544: Women's Literature and Theory
      • EH 462/562: American Literature 1820-1870
      • EH 478/578: Milton


Learning Outcomes

Students who have met the level of research competence expected of the Department of Professional Writing will be able to:

  1. Recognize the research process.
  2. Define research questions.
  3. Identify how to narrow or broaden their topic.
  4. Identify potential keywords within their research questions.
  5. Explain how library resources differ from those found in search engines.
  6. Navigate subject-specific databases that support the Professional Writing Department.
  7. Cite sources appropriately.

These learning outcomes represent only the minimum expectations of research skills for Professional Writing majors and do not supplant any expectations made by Professional Writing faculty. Instructors are encouraged to develop more specific outcomes as necessary.

English Liaison Librarian

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Delores Carlito
Mervyn H. Sterne Library
Room 157F
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