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Creating Successful Research Assignments

Guidelines for creating research assignments for students.

Tips for Creating Assignments

  • Include benchmarks such as requiring submission of topic proposals, thesis statement, preliminary bibliography and/or annotated bibliography, mid point check-up, or draft workshops with peers.  These will:
    • help clarify the research process
    • ensure viability/appropriateness of a topic before it's too late
    • reduce procrastination
    • reduce likelihood of plagiarism.
  • Try to do the assignment yourself to ensure that necessary resources are available
  • Explain what you mean by "web resources" - Are library databases ok, but Wikipedia not? All are accessible via the "Web."
  • Collaborate with librarians
    • consult with a librarian during the planning process
    • invite a librarian to meet with your class
  • Encourage students to use Research services, like the Librarians, Tutoriing, and Writing Centers
  • Encourage students to reflect on the research process
    • Use a research log to document databases searched/sources consulted
    • keywords and search strategies used
    • dead-ends and successes
    • evolution of/change of topics
  • TILT your assignments for clarity
  • Best Practices for assignments:
    • Provide clear, detailed instructions
    • Direct students to resources that are available and tell them where to find them
    • Include clear criteria for what is successful
    • Scaffold and include benchmarks for students to complete.
    • Relate assignment to to course learning outcomes

*includes information from Oberlin College Library & University of Washington

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