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Creating Effective Research Assignments for Your Students: Prepare Students

Help your students have a meaningful and positive library research experience.

Assignment Calculator

The Assignment Calculator is a time management tool that breaks down research assignments into a series of manageable steps, while providing expert tips for success. Enter the assignment start date and due date to get planning! 

Prepare Students

Preparing your students                                Computer Search clipart                                                                                             

  • Why do it?  Tell your students why they are doing this assignment and what purpose it serves.
  • What Sources are needed?   If the assignment requires the use of specific sources, give the students a list of them and make arrangements with the Subject Librarians to assure availability and access.
  • How Complex is the assignment?  If it involves the use of complex sources or unfamiliar research strategies, your students will need to be oriented to these--by you or by a Subject Librarian--in a customized, scheduled library instruction session
  • Is their Subject Librarian on the syllabus?  Include the name of their Subject Librarian along with the research assignment on their syllabus!
  • Is the complete paper due by a given deadline?  Try giving them incremental deadlines - one for a bibligraphy, one for an outline, etc.
  • Place limited resources on reserve
  • Add Library Resources to your P.L.A.T.O. course
    Madigan Library
    Research Guides

  • What if the Library does not have the information a student needs?  Waiting until the night before a paper is due is never a good idea!  If research is done early, the library can get articles emailed to the student in 2 to 3 days and books in 1 to 2 weeks through  Interlibrary Loan
  • Direct students to the Penn College Writing Center well in advance of the due date

 Adapted with permission: "Librarians at the University of Maryland" were the authors & inspiration for the material"