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Logbook Course

Subject: Comparative Literature. Course: Introduction to Comparative Literature and Literary Periods. Study level: Bachelor 1st semester.

Motivation for the activity

The objective is to give the students good study habits already from the commencement of studies, and to make them responsible for their selection of sources. With supervision support from the lecturer and librarian they will in this way come to have a higher degree of responsibility for their own learning.

Description of the activity

The form of the logbook is up to the students themselves, but the log must contain descriptions of how the search process has been approached, where works of reference, databases, websites and bibliographies have been consulted, usability and quality assessed. In addition, the student must account for the search strategies which have been used - but most importantly, the log must contain reflection on the process and the outcome of the efforts; both good and bad experiences are included.

The logbook is compulsory and is included as an independently described page in the examination. A poor logbook cannot fail an exam - at most it can be decisive in the assessment. If the logbook is completely absent then the exam is not passed.

Both the lecturer and librarian read the logbooks and the overall process/outcome is evaluated, partly in the form of an academic, oral post criticism of the exercises, and partly in the joint evaluation of the course, and finally in the on-going coordination of the following work on developing the course.

The library’s share in this course is a course distributed over three lessons totalling eight hours. The responsibility for ensuring that the students round all aspects of what it means to be information competent is thus shared by the librarian and lecturer.

Outcomes of the activity

The logbook process promotes and encourages:


  • Formulation of precise and clear teaching objectives
  • The strategic depth approach to learning in the form of ownership of topic and choice of literature
  • Reflection on the information search process
  • Evaluation and self-evaluation/assessment of own performance
  • Responsibility and independence
  • Didactic considerations from the lecturer’s side.

 In relation to planning:

  • High-level of student participation through precise timing in relation to assignment, course content and deadline for submission
  • Clear indication of division of responsibilities between subject and library
  • Possibility of joint evaluation.

The logbook course contributes to a strategic depth approach to the task, where the responsibility for the literature is transferred to the students once they have developed the competencies required to deal with the responsibility.

The logbook concept lives up to the requirements of the Bologna Process for transparency and clear teaching objectives, and makes it possible to assess whether the objectives are met. A bibliography in and by itself says nothing about how the literature has been found, what considerations have taken place on selection and deselection - and whether the search has been exhaustive.

The logbook (where the students often candidly tell of frustrations and conquests) has, however, given both the lecturer and librarian a look into the students' way of dealing with the information search process and provided knowledge about where more work needs to be done.

The academic experience is that the logbooks to a great extent have sharpened insight into how random, unsystematic and non-academic the students are when they begin to search for their information. And how the logbook forces them into an insight on what they actually do/have done - and thus points them towards doing it better.

The result is an increasing professionalism in information searching. On the basis of the logbook course there is a wish for more steps to be added; at the start of the Master's degree programme and at the start of the Master's thesis.


    Reflections on the activity 

    • To have the logbook course written into the academic regulations so that it does not come to be person-dependent and so that the development of the students' information searching skills will be a common task
    • Teaching in information searches should be made obligatory; partly to avoid logbooks that are more like diaries, and partly so that the exercise is precisely formulated for both the students and lecturers
    • The course must be coordinated between lecturer and librarian in relation to expectations and division of responsibility
    • Course on using RefWorks: The course compliments the logbook course - and vice versa: The logbook course makes the advantages of a reference management tool visible for the students.


    Jette Bohn

    H 1582
    P +4591356438