2024 Friends of the Library Scholarship Winner

Photo of Sara Trompeter

Congratulations to Sara Trompeter, winner of the 2024 Friends of the Library Scholarship! Trompeter is currently pursuing a interdisciplinary Ph.D., and is set to graduate in 2025.

Trompeter’s essay was chosen for her response to the following prompt:

How did you use library resources and services to complete a project, and what did they add to your work?

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) Libraries have helped me immensely through my Ph.D. journey. I am a Ph.D. student at UMKC with a primary discipline in biomedical and health informatics and a co-discipline in pharmacology. Over the past year, I have begun the process of writing my dissertation, which is the creation of five deprivation indices for the Healthy People 2030 domains. While enrolled in the clinical research methodology course, MEDB 5510, we were tasked to write a literature review for our dissertations or theses. As someone who is not well-versed in literature reviews, I reached out to the health sciences librarians for assistance and utilized multiple library resources.

A health sciences librarian met with me via Zoom to help me determine the theme of the literature review, how to get started, and how to find the best sources for the literature review. Before the Zoom call, the librarian took the time to review my topic to better understand my goals for the dissertation and found key sources I used within my literature review. I greatly appreciated the time the librarian spent before meeting with me to understand the subject matter because we were able to get straight to assisting me with the literature review, rather than spending 15 to 20 minutes trying to understand my complex area of study. Additionally, having a specific librarian for health sciences with an increased level of understanding of the field allowed us to easily speak the same language. During the meeting, the librarian showed me how to efficiently and effectively use the UMKC database search engine to find the best sources for the literature review. We systematically entered the search terms I thought were most relevant using the AND, OR, and advanced searches. The librarian also showed me how to interchange the terms to find the best list. I found this extremely helpful because when I was performing general searches, I would receive thousands of sources that would have taken hours to go through each one to find relevant sources for the literature review. We went through multiple searches and the librarian showed me how to use keywords and how to use quotes to find sources that have the exact words I wanted within the sources, such as Healthy People 2030 and deprivation indices. At the end of the call, we had drilled down my literature review topic which was whether a Healthy People 2030 domain deprivation indices have been already developed and the reasons why the deprivation indices are needed and can be utilized. After the call, I felt so much more confident and less lost in the enormous number of sources that I could develop a well-written literature review with relevant sources.

In addition to meeting with a health sciences librarian, I also used interlibrary loans and the library building itself to complete the dissertation literature review. I have found that I can write most efficiently in a quiet environment without distractions, so the fourth floor or the quiet floor of the Miller-Nichols library was instrumental in completing the literature review by the course deadline. I went to the fourth floor every weekend leading up to the deadline and completed the review earlier than I expected, which gave me more time for revisions. I also used the interlibrary loans for resources that were not publicly available. The loan system was incredibly easy to use, and I was given ample time to review the source before the loan due date. I utilized the UMKC library in many ways to complete the MEDB 5510 dissertation literature review by the course deadline.

The UMKC library resources were essential in completing the literature review by the course due date. I met with a librarian, used the quiet floor of Miller-Nichols Library, and received interlibrary loans. The resources provided by UMKC libraries gave my literature review a more robust, well-written edge to ensure I not only got a good grade on the literature review but also an acceptable literature review for my dissertation. I plan to continue utilizing the resources as my dissertation continues to develop as the library resources have been a key tool for completing such an overwhelming and important project.

This unedited essay is published as it was submitted.

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