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Library Instruction and Information Literacy


Whenever possible, consult with your librarian when creating research assignments.  We have years of experience with what works and what doesn't.  We also keep up with changes in research and publishing, which can affect students' access to information.

Tips for creating effective research assignments... 

  • Require students to find, evaluate, and use information in a meaningful and relevant way.
  • Include at least one information literacy session and/or have a discussion about the assignment with your librarian.
  • Define the task and identify the types of sources students should use.
  • Make sure that the sources you require students to use can be found through the library or are available freely online.
  • Focus on information content, not container.  Online sources may be more appropriate and readily available than print sources.
  • Use complete and accurate names when referring to a resource. For example, EBSCO is a database vendor; Academic Search Premier is the name of a general database.
  • Take advantage of reserves if all students will be asked to use the same source.
  • Give students enough time to complete the assignment successfully. Remind students that, even under the best circumstances, research takes time.
  • Encourage students to contact their librarian if they need assistance.

Things to avoid when creating research assignments...

  • Treasure or scavenger hunts. These types of assignments focus on discrete answers and do not require students to work with information in a meaningful or relevant way.
  • Relying on tours of the library.  This will not teach students all they need to know about the library and research.


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