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Information Literacy @ Madison College Libraries - Faculty Info: Creating Effective Research Assignments

Creating Effective Research Assignments

  • State learning objectives clearly
  • Assess students' research skills and knowledge
  • Use clear terminology; provide definitions or examples when necessary
  • Remind students that research takes time
  • Test your assignment
  • Discuss the assignment with a librarian

Research Assignment: Checklist


  • Does the assignment have a clearly stated purpose or learning objective?
  • Does the assignment related to specific course learning outcomes?


  • Have you checked/updated the assignment?

  • Do you have due dates/interim due dates included?

  • Are time frames reasonable for the work & research that's expected?

  • Does the assignment require the use of complex sources or unfamiliar research skills?

  • Would students benefit from an in-person library session or use of library online tutorials?


  • Have you specified a minimum/maximum length?
  • Have you specified a particular style of citation and paper format? Do they have to adhere to strict rules, or is it more important that they are consistent and conscientious?
  • Have you included a statement about what constitutes  plagiarism?


  • Have you discussed the assignment with a librarian?
  • Does the library have a copy of the assignment? Is it available on Blackboard? 
  • Does the assignment indicate what resources that students ought to consider?
  • Have you checked to see that needed resources are available?


  • Have you specified a minimum number of sources?
  • Have you specified the types of sources required?
    • scholarly/peer-reviewed articles?
    • magazines?
    • government documents/online government resources?
    • websites?
    • interviews/transcripts?
    • documentary videos?
  • Have you built-in flexibility to accommodate the availability of different information types?

Creating Effective Research Assignments

This PowerPoint was developed by Virginia Bryan and Deb Diller of Madison College Libraries to share with faculty in an effort to encourage more effective collaboration between faculty and librarians.

Research Assignments Articles

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