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Teaching Resources for Faculty: Research Assignment Design

We're here to help you incorporate library skills into your classes, as well as help you brush up on new tools that might be helpful for your own research. We offer: in-class workshops, customized research guides, one-on-one consultations, and much more.

Assignment Design

In a national survey* 84% of students reported “getting started” is the most difficult thing about research. Assumption students agree. 

Best Practices

  • Start with your course goals in mind. How does the research project fit in with those goals?
  • What research skills will a student need to acquire in order to complete the project successfully? 
  • Do we have the library resources that students will need? Would Course Reserves be helpful, and/or will students need to allow time for Interlibrary Loan requests?
  • Discuss the assignment in class.
  • “Scaffold” their information literacy skills. For example, the first deliverable might require students to submit a tentative topic statement. Next, an annotated bibliography of potential sources. Later in the semester, a draft. Then finally the finished product at the end of the semester.

As you find gaps in student research skills, we can either help find resources or in-class activities for you to conduct in class to address those.

And/or you can outsource this instruction by scheduling a library instruction session or referring individual students to us for a one-on-one research appointment.

Building Better Assignments--Step by Step

Web Links

There are many resources out there with checklists or tips on crafting a well-written assignment:

Example

Here is an example of an assignment requiring research:

What are the strengths? What are the weaknesses? How can this assignment be improved?

Let's first look at how this assignment ties into course/subject Learning outcomes, assessment (10% weighting),  Due Date and Topic:

Let's next look at re-structuring some of the criteria required as information sources:From SPARK: Building Better Assignments by the Seneca Libraries.