Skip to main content

Tips for Effective Research Assignments


  • Consider the purpose of the assignment, does it directly relate to goals of your course and help students understand the role information plays in your subject?
  • Prepare your students for the assignment: share the purpose, the expectations for the final product, and the steps involved in the process.
  • Establish milestones for pieces of the assignment to help students make progress as well as to eliminate opportunities for plagiarism.
  • Consult with your Subject Librarian on the assignment. We can ensure the library has the resources you want your students to use and can identify areas of potential difficulty.
  • Provide the library with a copy of the assignment.


  • Using a single topic or a single source for the entire class. You can use Course Reserves or link to online sources in D2L. Be sure to create Persistent URLs to articles.
  • Requiring resources that are not readily available. Contact your Subject Librarian to check on availability of resources you want to have your students use.
  • Using "Scavenger Hunts" for specific pieces of information – they are often frustrating and don’t achieve your goals. Consult with your Subject Librarian about this kind of assignment to make sure it meets your objectives and will be successful.