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Creating Effective Research Assignments for Your Students: Questions

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

Questions to Ask When Designing Research Assignments

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  • Does this assignment help to achieve the learning goals of the course?
  • What core research skill is being addressed in this assignment, and how?
  • Is this assignment integrated into the course, providing material to be used in other work within the course?
  • Will this assignment serve to bring in enriching material for the students?
  • Does this assignment encourage my students to think about the type of information they need (factual, background, evaluative), and the form in which they're most likely to find it?
  • Does this assignment help my students distinguish among various types of information sources:  magazine articles, books, academic or research journals, personal web sites, etc?
  • Does this assignment include retrieval of information through some major finding tool such as an index, catalog, database or search engine?
  • Does this assignment provide meaningful practice in using tools in ways that might be helpful in other contexts?
  • Does this assignment ask students to look at information critically -- to evaluate it, to compare it with other information, to synthesize information from different sources, to identify the most crucial pieces of information available?
  • Is this assignment designed so that student success is feasible? Are the likely obstacles, however salutary, also surmountable?