The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Peer Research Consultants Provide Aid to Students

Alexandra Grimm

Colgate University’s Peer Research Consultants program, which began in Fall 2023, provides help to students mainly with sourcing for research papers, including finding and formatting the sources. Led and started by librarians Alexandra Grimm and Lynne Kvinnesland, there are currently three student consultants, including junior Ini Oyewusi, sophomore Ellen Weinstock and sophomore Abigail McGuire. An extension of the librarians themselves, the consultants are located in Case-Geyer Library room 391 and are available on a drop-in basis on Sunday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., as well as Monday through Thursday from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

These three students have provided research help since last semester and have been enjoying the opportunity. Oyewusi elaborated on this point, as well as explained what they do on a daily basis.

“We help our peers in their research for certain classes. We all have different majors. I am a sociology major, [McGuire] is in STEM and [Weinstock] is a political science and religion [major], so we tend to delegate based on what subject the student needs help in,” Oyewusi said. “If someone has a research paper and needs help getting started, we get an idea of what they need and aid them in their research as far as getting in-depth sources. Additionally, we provide help on how to correctly cite sources and determine whether or not it is scholarly.”

While many students are aware of the peer writing help in the Writing and Speaking Center, the peer research consultants are a newer service, although they have similar goals. 

“Think of us as the writing service, but for research,” Weinstock said.

At the beginning of the semester, the consultants received training from the librarians on how to properly provide aid and guide students in the right direction when needed, which they explained has been helpful for them. 

“I have learned a lot about citing sources, which I thought I knew but I didn’t,” Oyewusi said.  “Working through all the different databases, archives and yearbooks that I didn’t even know we had access to has been a great experience, as well.”

McGuire emphasized the uniqueness of the position, explaining that no two assignments that they receive are ever the same.

“There are so many different classes on campus, so we are able to get to learn a little bit about everything,” McGuire said. “No project is ever like another.”

One project that McGuire particularly enjoyed was when she was tasked with finding a unique source for a student. Many times, sources come in traditional forms like books and articles, but McGuire found that this is not always the case.

“One time I was asked: ‘How do I cite a song?’ I had no idea at the time, so learning about that and being able to help there was great,” McGuire said. “Their teacher said that each student needed a certain amount of sources, one of which was an outside source, which happened to be a song. I didn’t even realize that you could use a song as a source for a paper.”

Grimm was able to shed some light on how the program originally started and her role within it now. 

“Librarians are available to meet with these students about questions, but students have expressed interest in having help in other times of day, which is how the program came about,” Grimm said. “The students have become an extension of the reference sources.”

The Peer Research Consultant program at the library has helped many students, most commonly first-years who are starting their first papers and seniors working on their theses. Additionally, they are looking to expand their program into the George R. Cooley Science Library, as well. Applications for consultant positions will open later in this semester as demand for their services continues to grow.

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