Janelle's Proposal Site



Goals and Objectives


My website project is intended to supplement instruction of the research process that would lead to academic research paper writing. Specifically, students will need to know how information is organized; how to identify and articulate a research topic; how to determine search strategies and appropriate resources for retrieving resources; evaluating, organizing, and synthesizing information; and the ethical implications of academic research.


The website will be a tool for me, the Reference and Instruction Librarian at Ohio University Zanesville. I will use this site as part of in-class instruction of the research process for UC116 classes. Because this is a resource that will be used as a research guide for the campus community, Ohio University Zanesville is also the client.

Target Audience

There are two target audiences for this project: first-quarter freshmen and library users looking for assistance with research. Freshmen will use the site to complete assignments for UC116; other library users will refer to this as a guide for research.

It will be necessary for the website to provide access to the same information in multiple formats to address different learning styles—for example, in order to address the organization of information, there should be a printable and audible version of the lesson, a diagram of the process, and an exercise--or doable--version of the lesson. Each of the five processes will have their own sub-page, with each sub-page containing the four versions of instruction.

In addition to addressing different learning styles, the site will also have to address the different levels of computer skills and internet access students have. Instructions for accessing material will have to be explicit; the design must be clean and uncluttered so that the important information doesn't get lost on the page. The multiple presentation formats will also address the off-campus internet access issues our students have. Some of our students have dial-up or satellite internet service which makes watching video difficult; providing the information in a variety of ways will help with accessibility.

Since part of the instruction will include assessing appearance of resources as an indicator of validity, the site will have to maintain a professional, clean appearance and be well-ordered. The colors and images will be representative of OUZ, there will have to be a graphic indicating affiliation to OUZ, and each of the pages will have to link back to the Zanesville Campus Library and Ohio University Zanesville. Links out of the project site should be kept to a minimum; those links that are included should be relevant and well-explained.


  1. Strive for a design that is user-friendly and professional--clear navigation paths, uncluttered, visually appealing
  2. Create content that succinctly conveys the instructional information
  3. Demonstrate to the campus community appropriate methods for online instruction

Site Map

This sitemap indicates that there is one home page and 6 subpages. There are no plans for additional pages at this time. Each page will include a PDF of the instruction module, an audio/video file explaining the instruction for that module, a diagram of the process when suitable, and exercises for each module. The color scheme and fonts are subject to change. I'm worried that the color scheme indicated on the map is too bland.



HomepageModule 1

Competitive Analysis

Website Research Strategies
About This is the Ohio State University Library's online Research Guide.
What works
  • The information presented is scannable.
  • The topic area titles are clear about what information is being presented.
  • The page is clean with plenty of empty space.
What doesn't
  • The order of the topic area titles is aplhabetical instead of in order of task completion--in order of task completion makes more sense.
  • The plus-sign expander buttons are tiny and probably irrelevant.
  • The background color for the page title area--"Research Guides"--detaches that area and the bottom part of the page from the two rows of links at the top of the page, making them disappear.
Website Research Guide
About The Duke University Libraries' Research Guide.
What works
  • The organization of the topic area is according task completion.
  • The topic titles are clear.
  • The main content area of the page is clean.
What doesn't
  • The text colors--blue and black--are too similar and don't allow for obvious differentiation of heading and subtopics.
  • There is too much text on the page.
  • The text size is too small or maybe too uniform.
Website ToolKit
About This Tool Kit is a research resource from Wake Forest University's Z. Smith Reynolds Library.
What works
  • There is a search prompt specificaly for the Tool Kit at the top of the content area.
  • There is a tag cloud at the top of the content area, providing an index of sorts for the Tool Kit.
  • There are mulitple ways to search for content--in the search box, an alphabetical list, by new resource, and by popular resource.
What doesn't
  • The tag cloud is visually appealing, but I find that students don't always know what its purpose is.
  • There is too much text on the page.
  • The text is too small and too light in color.
Website Seven Steps to Effective College Research
About This is Cornell University's Guide to Library Research from the Olin and Uris Libraries.
What works
  • The font size varies, with the more important content area text being more prominent.
  • The use of disticnt color variations--red and black--allows for ease in reading.
  • The page is clean with empty space.
  • Printer friendly versions of this information is available from the link at the top of the page.
What doesn't
  • It's not immediately clear that the heading "Seven Steps to Effective Research " is a hyperlink.
  • The "ask a librarian" widget seems misplaced on the page and redundant since there is also another widget elsewhere on the page for chatting with a libarian.
  • The headers on the page take over at least a third of the screen; I would rather see more of the content than look at institutional standardized headers over and over again.
Website QuickStudy: Library Research Guide
About The University of Minnesota's Quick SrearchL Library Research Guide.
What works
  • The steps of the research process are organized in order and numbered (this represents a process).
  • The text is easy to read, especially considering the smallness of the icon that the text surrounds.
  • There is not too much information on the page.
What doesn't
  • The information should be centered on the page.
  • The icon is too small. This look givs the webpage a Mom and Pop look, not a professional appearance.
  • When clicking on one of the steps, it is not clear that there are several more subtopics for that step.

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