Library Instruction for the Writing Program

Writing 150

The following information literacy learning outcomes were developed together by librarians and Writing 150 administrators:

After a semester of Writing 150, students will be able to...

  •  Develop a strategic search plan
  •  Demonstrate an understanding of citation style in order to track a scholarly conversation
  •  Identify the purpose, audience, and context of various information sources

Reports on these outcomes related to library instruction can be found in the Assessment section of this page. To schedule a library instruction class or other kind of collaboration, visit the Request Instruction page.

The following learning activities and assignments are often used by librarians and/or instructors. You will need to log in to the Libraries' Instructional Repository with your USC email and password to access them. For Google Docs, please make a copy rather than editing the documents directly. If you would like to contribute a resource to this page, please email Elizabeth Galoozis at

Writing Center Library Databases: This guide is intended to serve as a quick reference guide for USC Writing Center Consultants on databases that may be useful for finding information on each of the ten WRIT 150 thematics.

Guided Google Sheet (Outcome: Develop a strategic search plan)

This activity can be used after or during an introduction to the library and search tools. Students will independently complete their row in the spreadsheet while the librarian walks around and assists them individually. The students can return to the shortened link at any time to view the work they did in class. If not every student has a computer, this activity can also be completed in small groups. Questions can be modified based on the assignment and needs of the class.

Topic Swap (Outcome: Develop a strategic search plan)

This activity is best done after students have already found a few sources for their topics. Have students work in pairs (could also work in a group of three). Ask them to explain to each other (in 5 minutes each):

  • what their topic is
  • how and where they've searched so far
  • anything that is difficult or missing from their search results so far

Then direct them to the Google Sheet to search for each others' topics. Come back together and ask a few groups to share what they learned about their own topics by seeing them from someone else's perspective.

Identifying Keywords (via Indiana University) (Outcome: Develop a strategic search plan)

Use this worksheet either as a handout, or use the language as part of introducing a keyword-related activity.

Know Your Sources (via Portland Community College) (Outcome: Identify the purpose, audience, and context of various information sources)

This infographic can be used as homework or in class to explain different source types and the cycle of information.

Primary and Secondary Sources (aimed at Law & Social Justice thematic) (Outcome: Identify the purpose, audience, and context of various information sources)

This activity asks students to work in groups to identify the audience and purpose of primary and secondary sources in law. After submitting the answers to questions through a Google Form, the librarian should lead a discussion that compares the three different types of sources and how they might fit together. the example topic is medical marijuana in California, but the activity could be adapted to other topics.

    Conversation Tracker (Outcomes: Demonstrate an understanding of citation style in order to track a scholarly conversation, Identify the purpose, audience, and context of various information sources)

    Best done with a course reading students have already read; students work together in small groups to complete the form. Come back together as a class to have a larger discussion about audience and purpose. Then ask students to work together in the same small groups to find another source that is in conversation with the text they have just read and analyzed.

    Create Your Own Handout (Outcome: any, depending on the content)

    This activity can be done as individuals or students can contribute to a collaborative class-wide handout. Depending on the class, students can post tips for other students, resources they find, search strategies, or anything else pertinent. It could also be used as a guided note-taking exercise.