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Designing Effective Research Assignments: Home

Learn about best practices in research assignment design, student research habits, and how the Library can help.

Guide Contents

Web Services Librarian

Suzanne Bernsten's picture
Suzanne Bernsten
Contact:
Liaison to Integrated English and Science
517-483-1644

Research Assignment Design

Assignment Requirements

  • Context - Provide context for the assignment and explain how it fits into the course.
  • Audience - A real-world audience can provide motivation and context to an assignment.
  • Process - Give feedback at different stages in the research process such as topic selection and a rough draft.
  • Share - Have students share their work with classmates by posting to a discussion board, creating a poster, or giving a presentation.

Research Guidance

  • Topic Selection - Help students get started with subject encyclopedias, news aggregators such as Science Daily and EurekAlert, or Need a Topic? databases.
  • Searching for Information - Recommend specific research guides, databases, or websites rather than just the library in general.
  • Evaluating Information - Give students guidance in critically reading and evaluating sources.
  • Using Information - Inform students how to avoid plagiarism and get citation help.
  • Avoid - Requiring students to find only print sources (an e-book version of a book is usually the same content as the print version) or find information on obscure topics.

Support

  • Handout - Provide students with a handout with clear guidelines to follow. This will also assist students who get academic support from librarians and tutors.
  • Academic Support - Include links and contact information for librarians, tech support and tutoring services.

The guidelines above are a simplified version of the Planning Checklist: Research Assignments by Library Instructional Council, Maricopa Community Colleges, adapted by Suzanne Bernsten, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial 4.0 International License.

Assessment

Information Literacy, an Essential Learning Outcome adopted by Lansing Community College, is the ability to know when there is a need for information and to be able to identify, locate, evaluate, and effectively and responsibly use and share that information for the problem at hand. - Adopted from the National Forum on Information Literacy

Permission to Share

Creative Commons License
This guide was adapted by Suzanne Bernsten from a guide created by Anne-Marie Deitering and licensed by Oregon State University Library under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License