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Illinois Tech Library Guides

Research Specialists: Writing Assistance

Use Research Guides


You're not alone! Galvin Library has subject specialists for every major area of study.

These people order books, teach classes, and meet with students directly to help them find appropriate resources for their subjects. 


View our list of research guides.

Find your subject specialist or make an appointment.


Director James Dabbert
Siegel 232-233
Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 3:30 pm*
*hours may vary, see sign–up sheets on the doors of SH 232 and 233 for up–to–date Writing Center hours

Writing Assistance

Proposed Learning Outcomes for Research Specialist Training:

  • Can locate research guides
  • Can find subject librarian for any subject
  • Can develop a keyword search
  • Can refer various library services
  • Can communicate library services based on student needs
What Specialists Won’t Assist With:
  • Won’t address every problem in a paper
  • Thesis Statements
  • Essay Structure/Organization
  • Grammar
  • Assume Faculty expectations
Things for Specialists to Remember:
  • Writing is a skill and is, thus, best learned incrementally (lots of edits and revisions; it’s a process)
  • Writers can only focus on one or two issues at a time
  • Shorter, multiple, focused consultations can assist in accomplishing writing goals
  • Students should visit the writing center!
  • Think about the integration of the research & writing process

Writing Assistance Suggestions

Conversation of mankind is a collaborative learning method



W = welcoming, open attitude & body language
O = open-ended questions
R = restating/rephrasing/review the question
F = ask follow-up questions


Suggested Questions:

  • Please tell me more about your topic.
    • What do you mean by X?
    • Please give me an example?
    • I don’t know much about X.  Can you help me understand?
    • Please explain that in more detail. Please be more specific.
  • What additional information can you give me?
  • How much information do you need?
    • What kind of information are you looking for?
    • What types of information do you need (books, articles, etc.)
    • What types of sources may you use for your assignment.
    • What have you already found?
  • Follow-up with:
    • If you don’t find what you’re looking for, please come back and we’ll try something else.


  • Accept drop of papers: we work with students to advise them on writing a better research paper; not about errors, but the process.
  • Correct grammar or spelling
  • Never cover more than one to two concerns
  • Argue, ask for clarification or suggest ways to strengthen the argument

Adapted from: Bradley Shipps's, Reference Interview 101.