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PRA: Advice


  • Get to know the sections of the library. It helps a lot when someone has a general topic and wants to do research on their own. It makes you look more proficient if you can quickly show a student, and really helps if you have multiple people asking for help.
  • Browse the databases! You will never know what a student might ask you to help research.
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions or request the student's prompt for their research paper. If they are not being clear on what they need to research, refer to their prompt or see notes they took.
  • Be ready to answer random questions
  • Ask open ended questions to students to extract more information during your research appointments. 


  • Communicate clearly with Carrie, co-workers, and all of the great staff in the Library. Also be friendly. 
  • Don’t be afraid to speak up if you need to let Carrie know something.
  • Don’t expect to know the topics you’re getting, we always get new topics that we don’t know, just do a little research ahead of time if you have an appointment or if it’s a walk-in you can ask the person you’re helping for a little background, don’t worry students don’t expect you to know everything.
  • Be comfortable and just enjoy your work.
  • Be humble, because you were chosen to be a PRA because your are bright, experienced, and friendly. There will be students who are starting from ground one, but that doesn't mean you are smarter/better than them. There are also students that have degrees already and are at MSJC for various reasons.  
  • Never Judge anyone, preconceived notions can limit your effectiveness as a PRA. Never stereotype based on race, age, clothing, or any exterior factor. 
  • Be prepared to have very rough consultations in the beginning. But, also throughout your time as a PRA.
  • Form a mental checklist on how to start your consultation. Some students do not effectively convey their project or what they need. So, have your own system to deduce their needs.