Suggested Research Assignments

Student engagement and knowledge retention is improved when their library session is paired with a course research assignment. We are happy to help you find a research project that aligns with your course objectives! Some suggestions are: 

Annotated Bibliography 

Students prepare an annotated bibliography that includes the best, most useful resources on their topic -- include books, periodical articles, websites, or other relevant sources as specified in type and number by the instructor.  In the annotations students evaluate the usefulness of the resource for their particular topic.

UNC-Asheville: Annotated Bibliography Assignment

Heald & McCarthy: Annotated Bibliography Project Worksheets

Research Journal

Students keep an ongoing record of the library research they do for a project, including methodology, sources consulted, keywords used, etc.  Students should note what worked, what didn’t, and how this exercise was useful. 

UNC-Asheville: Keeping a Research Journal

Research Presentation

Can be used as a group project.  Students follow the research process, but present their findings rather than writing a formal paper.  

Heller-Ross: Research Presentation Assignment

Anatomy of a Term Paper

Students conduct research for a term paper and do all necessary steps except actually writing the paper.  

St. John’s University: Anatomy of a Research Paper

Scholarly vs. Popular

Students review publications on a similar topic and compare materials based on audience, focus, purpose, and context, then determine which materials are best for a research paper and why.

Vanderbilt University: Video Tutorial

Scholarly vs. Popular Handout Discussing the Differences

Wittenberg University

University of Arizona: Popular vs. Scholarly Articles Tutorial

University of Oregon

Primary & Secondary Sources

Students compare primary and secondary sources on the same topic, then, determine when and why to use each one.  

Hartness Library: Video Tutorial

Bobish: Primary & Secondary Sources Presentation and In-Class Exercise

SMU George W. Bush Library: Lesson Plan Guide

Career Assignment

For this assignment, students find information on their chosen career in at least one reference book, general books, journal articles, and web sites. Instructors should specify a set number for each source type sources. Students identify the required qualifications, such as what education, experience and licenses (if any) are needed. They also research salary expectations, possibly places of employment and employment forecasts for their career. This assignment is intended to help students begin to examine their interests, abilities and experience and also learn how to research a real life information need.