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Information Literary Resources: 3. Japanese Culture 300 level (H)

3. Japanese Culture 300 level

(originally created 1/10/2005; revised 4/13/2005)


Japanese Culture 300 level


90 minutes


Michiko Ito, Xiuying Zou


Junior or senior students who are required to write a 20-page research paper on Japanese culture.

Subjects of the Lesson

Since the students' knowledge of their research topic may be narrow and limited, it is important to encourage them to consult an encyclopedia to acquire some basic information about their topics. Also, when searching databases that do not have fully controlled vocabulary, students need to develop keywords (narrower terms, broader terms and synonyms) to make successful keyword searches.

Leaning objectives:

The class introduces online reference sources and online databases on Japanese studies. The class addresses ACRL Standards One 1, 2, 4; Standards Two 1-4. Of the SAILS Skill Sets, it addresses Sets 3-10. Upon completion, students should be able to:

  • Use reference sources to develop an understanding of the background of the research topic and increase vocabulary
  • Develop terms which are related to the research topic
  • Learn the difference between index and full-text database


This class uses an active learning approach. Cooperative learning is used to encourage students to think, pair, and share. The instructor will use a sample question and guide the students to develop search terms.

Research Sources

  • Encyclopedia of Japan (via Japan Knowledge)
  • Bibliography of Asian Studies (BAS)


  • Introduction of the lesson plan: 5 minutes
    • Contents of the class
    • Approach (active learning)
  • How to find background information on the topic: 10 minutes
    • Introduce Japan Knowledge database. Use the attached PowerPoint slides to acquaint students with the database's Japanese interface
  • How to develop search terms: 15 minutes
    • Introduce the sample question on PowerPoint slides
    • Instructors' guided discussion and searching of Japan Knowledge database
  • Students' pair work on one or two more similar questions given by the instructors: 15 minutes
  • Introducing Bibliography of Asian Studies: 10 minutes
  • Introducing JSTOR: 10 minutes
  • Wrapping-up: 5-10 minutes
    • Distribute the handouts for review
    • Answer any questions the students may have

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