These best practices were adapted from the handout "Tips for Designing Library Research Assignments" developed by Sarah McDaniel, of the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries. Many thanks to her for permission to reuse this resource.
This guide is for instructors creating assignments that require using outside sources. This page describes best practices.
See Assignment Ideas to explore different possible approaches beyond a traditional research paper.
Your students may not have prior experience with academic research and resources. State (in writing) details like:
Also consider discussing how research is produced and disseminated in your discipline, and how you expect your students to participate in academic discourse in the context of your class.
Breaking a complex research assignment down into a sequence of smaller, more manageable parts:
Periodic class discussions about the assignment can also help students
By testing an assignment, you may identify practical roadblocks (e.g., too few copies of a book for too many students, a source is no longer available online).
Librarians can help with this process (e.g., suggest research strategies or resources, design customized supporting materials like handouts or course research guides).