Guidelines for Research Assignments

While classroom faculty serve as experts in their discipline, librarians are information retrieval specialists available to offer support to professors who are creating and revising research assignments. The following guidelines include basic ideas to consider when preparing assignments in addition to tips for enhancing library research assignments.
  • Tie the assignment to established course objectives and inform students of the assignment's purpose and how it relates to the objectives.

  • Consider student capabilities and resources when developing assignments.

  • Provide reality-based, problem-solving activities that expand students’ capacity for critical thinking.

  • Employ assignments that highlight connections within and between disciplines or to real-world applications.

  • Develop assignments that feature interpersonal skills essential in the workplace.

  • Prepare a clearly outlined, assignment guide.

  • Allow "structured" freedom of choice in how to approach and deliver a research assignment.

  • Consider modifying research paper assignments that systematically document student work in an effort to minimize plagiarism.

  • Review research assignment (initially and annually thereafter) with liaison librarian to assess the availability of support materials.

  • Schedule a librarian-led instruction session to coincide with assignment distribution. 

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