Skip to Main Content
Lansing Community College Library

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

Profile Photo
Suzanne Bernsten
Liaison to English, World Languages, and Science
Subjects: Writing

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.


  • 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.


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