Research assignments may prove difficult for students who have limited experience with conducting college-level research. The following are some guidelines to consider when designing your research assignment.
1. Meet with a library staff member or run a search for possible resources students will use to complete their assignment. The library collection is continuously being updated and we want to ensure that students are able to easily find those required resources.
Example: If you are choosing a topic for the class to research, try first researching the topic yourself. For instance, if the topic has to do with a company’s financial performance, is there enough publicly available financial information that a student can easily access and use?
2. Suggest effective research strategies or incorporate research strategy as part of the assignment.
Example: Create a worksheet that students can use and submit that shows the keywords, databases, and authors they plan to use in their research. This can be reviewed by faculty or by a library staff member to ensure the student is on the right track with their research. Worksheet examples are available through the library.
3. Require the use of appropriate sources and not limiting students only to peer-reviewed journal articles if sources such as websites, books, and trade journals could also adequately support their work.
4. Encourage students to contact the library staff with questions about the assignment or have a librarian embedded into your course.
5. Solicit feedback about the resources used to complete the assignment and share that feedback with library staff and your department.
Example: Ask students whether they had trouble finding relevant materials, whether they understood the instructions, etc.
Questions about designing research assignments? Please contact Jennifer Evans.