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Information Literacy Faculty Toolkit: Tips - Library Research Assignments

Tips for Creating Research Assignments

  • Keep the skill level of your students in mind. Many students today rely on Google and Wikipedia and are unfamiliar with library research concepts.
  • Create clear research objectives for your assignment
    • Let students know the research skills that they are expected to learn and demonstrate through the assignment. 
  • Present students with recommended sources, along with an explanation as to what recommends them and why. Ensure assigned and/or recommended sources are appropriate to students’ level (reading level, subject matter knowledge, research skills).
  • Describe criteria for evaluating sources specific to the assignment.
  • Provide Context. Define what research in your discipline looks like so that students know what they are looking for and why.
  • Collaborate with a WilmU librarian. Incorporate Library research guides into your Canvas course page.
  • Provide students with access to library support (Information Desk, email and chat reference, library instruction sessions, appointments with your librarian).
  • Test your assignment before giving it to your students. Even better, get a librarian to test it.
    • Librarians meet with students struggling to interpret their assignments every day and know what parts of the assignment is most likely to cause confusion and anxiety in your students.
  • Check the availability of resources before recommending them to your students - a resource that you have used before may no longer be available or a newer resource which better suits your student's research needs may be available. If many students are researching the same narrow topic and need access to the same few books, you may want to place them on reserve.

Top Ten Research Pitfalls