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Abstract

Literature searching on the subject of effective library instruction in the use of legal materials reveals that this topic has been extensively researched with regard to law students (graduate, Juris Doctor-seeking candidates); however, the question of library instruction for paralegal students is decidedly under-researched. This article reports on efforts made by two faculty members—a Legal Assistant Studies Lecturer at Valdosta State University and a Reference Librarian (who was employed at Valdosta State University’s Odum Library at the time the research was conducted)—in assessing the effectiveness of library instruction that was provided to an online class of legal assistant studies students in the fall semester of 2012. The research found that students with high levels of confidence in their existing research abilities tended to perform poorly when tasked with finding primary legal sources. Additionally, a common research deficiency on the part of such students was to rely on simple Google searching as opposed to using the legal databases demonstrated during the library instruction.

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