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Faculty Information at Spokane Falls Community College: Creating Good Research Assignments


Jumping into academic research without any preparation can be like trying to teach yourself cuniform.

Checklist Document


It's possible to design online quizes for IRIS if you like using a tutorial.

Information Literacy Outcomes for Rising Juniors

Suggestions for Adding Research

To begin

Grade the research not just the speech, paper or project. 

Break any big assignment into small steps with due dates for each step to insure that students start. (Proposal, outline, list of sources, draft….)



1. Ask students to read and summarize an article from a scholarly journal.


    2. Have the students find and submit an article on a topic relevant to the class along with a written summary of the main points.


      More Challenging

      3. Give the class an editorial or opinion piece and ask them to try and verify the facts.


        4. Pick an issue or have the students pick an issue and try to find information on both sides of the controversy. 


        5. Ask student to find the original study or at least the complete reference for the original study mentioned in a popular magazine article or on the news.  Advanced:  Have the students compare the popular report of the study to the original research.



        1.  Ask students to keep a research journal which includes databases consulted and keywords used and an analysis of websites examined. 


        2.  Require the students to include an evaluation of the reliability of author or organization responsible for any web page they use in a paper or assignment that is not .gov.     


        3. Ask students working on a paper or project to compile an annotated bibliography to include more sources than they actually need for the assignment.  Require students to rate the sources and explain why some resources might not be as useful or reliable as other resources.  


        4.  Ask students to locate and annotate the very best resources on a particular narrow topic. 


        5.  Researching the research used by Wikipedia authors and articles can be fun.  Students can locate and evaluate the references or further readings listed at the end of the article. Naturally the instructor needs to choose appropriate and relevant articles. Check first to see how difficult this will be before you make the assignment. 


        Pre-College Research Evaluation Illustration