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Developing Research Assignments: More Resources

A guide to help instructors develop research assignments for students


To access the linked resources from off-campus, you'll need the barcode number from the back of your Truxal Library card or AACC photo ID.

Effective Assignments

Badke, W. (2014). Those baffling assignmentsOnline Searcher, 38(3), 71-73. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier. Reports on a study investigating the challenges and difficulties experienced by students in determining what their instructors expect from research projects.

Corbett, P. (2010). What about the "Google Effect"? Improving the library research habits of first-year composition studentsTeaching English in the Two Year College 37(3), 265-277. Retrieved from ProQuest Education Journals.

Fisher, B. (2010, July 13). Reading between the assignment’s lines [blog posting]. ACRLog. Retrieved from Reports on a Project Information Literacy study that collects and examines research assignments to see how they direct students toward appropriate sources.

Fister, B. (2010, July 22). Assignments: Being clear about what matters [blog posting]. Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved from Tips for writing clear assignments.

Flynn, M. (2002). Integrating brain-based strategies into library research assignments.  Academic Exchange Quarterly, 6(4), 66-70. Retrieved from Academic OneFile (Gale Document Number A97725091). Applies brain-based learning theories to research assignments.

Isbell, D. (2008). What happens to your research assignment at the library? College Teaching 56(1), 3-6. doi: 10.3200/CTCH.56.1.3-6. Strategies librarians use to help students focus topics.

Project Information Literacy. (2010, July 12). Project Information Literacy: Handout study [Video file]. Retrieved from Brief video about effective assignment handouts.

Stewart-Mailhiot, A. (2014). Same Song, Different Verse: Developing Research Skills with Low Stakes AssignmentsCommunications in Information Literacy, 8(1), 32-42. Retrieved from A low-stakes research model provides students with multiple opportunities to practice research skills, alleviating library research anxiety and increasing research quality.


Preventing Plagiarism

Dee, T. S., & Jacob, B. A. (2010). Rational ignorance in education: A field experiment in student plagiarism [Working Paper No. 15672]. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research. Retrieved from Documents/academics / economics/Dee/w15672.pdf    Study that demonstrates the effectiveness of having students complete a tutorial on avoiding plagiarism.

Jaschik, S. (2010, January 26). Plagiarism prevention without fear. Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved from    More on teaching students to recognize and avoid plagiarism.


Critical Thinking

Mahaffy, M. (2006). Encouraging critical thinking in student library research: An application of national standards. College Teaching 54(4), 324-8. Retrieved from Academic OneFile. Article that promotes reworking research assignments to promote critical thinking.

Tremblay, K. R., & Downy, E. P. (2004). Identifying and evaluating research-based publications: Enhancing undergraduate student critical thinking skills." Education 124(4), 734-41. Retrieved from Academic OneFile. Advancing critical thinking skills by having students review published research articles.

Library photo courtesy of Barry Halkin Photography