Create An Assignment
designed research assignments that support course objectives are an effective
way to introduce students to the instructional and support services of
an academic library. There are many reasons why a well designed library
research assignment should be included in the goals for your course.
following guidelines can assist in creating effective research assignments,
introduce or reinforce information literacy skills including the ability
to find, evaluate and use information effectively and efficiently and
help to ensure students of a positive library experience.
During the Assignment
After the Assignment
Alternatives to the Research Paper
acquainted with your students and their various needs, abilities, and
learning styles. Look at the Seven
Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education
developed by teaching and learning gurus
Arthur Chickering and Zelda F. Gamson.
Determine the purpose/goal of the assignment and how it fits within course
objectives. Decide what part(s) of the research
process will be emphasized and
how the progress of the students will be monitored.
with a Oakton reference librarian before the assignment to determine the
assignment's feasibility or for additional ideas on creating assignments
that promote information literacy.The
and the educational
of the College through a variety of instructional
and support services.
that was featured in the August 2001 issue of the NEA Advocate.
Choose assignments that
thinking and the integration
of knowledge. Some instructors also find educator's
Benjamin Bloom's taxonomy useful
in designing effective research assignments. See Promoting
Information Literacy Through Class Assignments
for ideas on helping students to become information literate. Avoid scavenger
hunts since they do little to promote information literacy and a positive
Assignments on a smaller scale can help students build confidence in their
own research abilities; this leads to less frustration in library use
and more positive results. Create realistic expectations for the assignment
since many students have had little or no experience in using an academic
For Effective Library Research Assignments
from the Library at New Mexico State University provides tips on avoiding
frustrating experiences for students.
Make sure students can use the necessary equipment such as computers,
photocopiers, microfilm readers, printers, etc.
Decide whether or not you want your students
to use the Internet. If Internet use is acceptable, determine the skill
level of your students. The
Good, The Bad and The Ugly:Why It's A Good Idea To Evaluate Internet Resources
from the New Mexico State University Library and Hoax?
Scholarly Research? Public Opinion? You Decide!
from the UCLA Library gives students practice in evaluating information
on the web. The Google directory has additional web sites on evaluating
information and additional examples
which demonstrate hoaxes.
If you're giving students instructions for accessing the Web and/or the
peridodical indexes, make sure
(or ask a librarian to make sure!) the directions
are as current and accurate as possible. Remember...the world of library
technology is a world of constant change and is always evolving!
Ask students to attend a Go
Digital! research workshop,
encourage individual research
consultations and/or collaborate
with a librarian on a workshop designed to support the goals of your assignment.
Research workshops can be arranged at either campus at a time convenient
for you and your students. The
Des Plaines campus has a Library classroom that can be reserved for your
class. Call the Reference Desk in
Des Plaines or Skokie to reserve a workshop date and time.
Alert reference and circulation staffs of any upcoming assignment that
will require heavy library use so that materials may be set aside, acquired,
or placed on reserve. This avoids frustration for students and library
personnel, as well.
Keep the librarians informed of your assignment. Send a copy of the assignment
to the Reference Desk in advance.
Notify the Reference Desk if you plan to visit with your class to work
on your assignment. This will avoid conflicts when more than one class
visits at the same time.
Try the assignment yourself to determine what works and what needs to
Explain the assignment clearly, preferably in writing. When the assignment
is written, it also clarifies the assignment for the librarians working
with the students.
If you haven't scheduled a research workshop for your class, now may be
the time. If your students have attended a workshop, consider scheduling
another workshop on a different and/or an advanced research skill or give
them time to practice what they already know.
Make sure students are aware of library
between the different types of sources.
Discuss the importance
of web evaluation.
aware of copyright
Encourage students to read and understand
the College's Information
Technology Policies and Rules.
Understand the interlibrary loan system and how it might impact the research
can help to locate items in many other Illinois college and university
Or students may be able to locate items in one of the north
suburban public libraries.
Emphasize respect for the Library and library materials.
Help students pace the assignment.
Make sure students understand the need
to cite sources;inform students
of the required citation style for your course.
Be aware of and warn students about plagiarism.
of Alberta Libraries have created
an informative web site for faculty on the subject of online plagiarism.
See also Plagiarism
& Cyber-Plagiarism:A Guide to Selected Resources On The Web from
College & Research Libraries News.
Interested in reading more about plagiarism? See The
Plagiarism Handbook:Strategies for Preventing, Detecting and Dealing with
Plagiarism which can be found in the Oakton Library, Des Plaines
campus. Call Number: PN167.H37
Encourage students to appreciate and work with reference
the assignment according to the course objectives. What needs to be changed?
Would you give the assignment again? Why or why not?
Ask the students to evaluate the assignment and discuss the results.
to the Research Paper
Critical thinking and encouraging
the development of information literacy skills should be the cornerstones
of any research assignment. These goals can be accomplished in a variety
of ways and the lengthy research paper can often be overwhelming for students
will little experience in the process. In addition, the advantages of
assigning alternatives to a research paper can include reducing the risk
of plagiarism, reducing the time required for grading and providing students
with opportunities to respond creatively to something new.
Assignments:Challenges that Students Face and How to Help in College
Teaching, Spring 2001 and Best Practices:Information
Literacy and Library Research Assignments at Oakton.
these alternatives when designing research assignments and ask your students
--prepare an annotated
bibliography on a topic of their
--research a social
issue and participate in a panel
discussion or debate
--prepare an abstract
of a journal article
--find and compare book
reveiws on a book relevant to
information on the same topic
from a popular magazine, a scholarly journal and the web
--compare and contrast different accounts of the same event using a variety
An Effective Library Research Assignment
tips from the Library, College of DuPage
Goes to College:How Students are Living in The Future with Today's Technology
report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project that funds
original, academic-quality research exploring the impact of the Internet
on children, families, communities, the work place, schools, health care
and civic/political life; the Project aims to be an authoritative impartial
source for timely information on the Internet's growth and societal impact
The Web of Discourse on The Scholarship of Teaching & Learning
webliography from College & Research Libraries News
list of alternatives from the Library, University of California, Berkeley
The Collaborative Imperative: Librarians
and Faculty Working Together in the Information Universe
Call Number: Z675.U5C6417 (DP)
Ideas: The Professor's Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking,
and Active Learning in the Classroom
Number: PE1404.B35 (DP)
Information Literacy: Developing Students
as Independent Learners
Number: Z674.5.U5I526 (DP)
The Plagiarism Handbook: Strategies for
Preventing, Detecting, and Dealing with Plagiarism
Number: PN167.H37 (DP)
Promoting Active Learning: Strategies for
The College Classroom
Number: LB1027.23.M49 (DP)
Internet Primary Sources to Teach Critical Thinking Skills in Government,
Economics, and Contemporary World Issues
Number: H61.95.S49 (DP)
Web of Deception: Misinformation on The Internet
Number: ZA4201.W43 (DP)
Web Wisdom: How To Evaluate and Create Information
Quality on The Web
Number: TK5105.888.A376 (DP)
Successful Teachers Do: 91 Research-Based Classroom Strategies for
New and Veteran Teachers
Call Number: LB1025.3.G51 (DP)
The Wired Professor: A Guide to Incorporating
the World Wide Web In College Instruction
Number: LB2331.K35 (DP &