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

Sample Information Literacy Assignments and Learning Object Repositories

Pre-College Research Evaluation Illustration

Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education

A Sampling of Ideas for Library-related Assignments from the University of Puget Sound

There are any number of library related assignments that can be incorporated into a course. Here are a few examples that can be adapted to most subjects.

  • Locate a popular magazine article, then find a scholarly article on the same subject. Compare the two articles for content, style, bias, audience, etc.
  • Prepare an annotated bibliography of books, journal articles, and other sources on a topic. Include evaluative annotations.
  • Select a topic and compare how that topic is treated in two to five different sources.
  • Analyze the content, style, and audience of three journals in a given discipline.
  • Update an existing bibliography or review of the literature.
  • Locate primary sources about on the date of your birth. You may use one type type of material only once, i.e., one newspaper headline of a major event, one quotation, one biography, one census figure, one top musical number, one campus event, etc. Use a minimum of six different sources. Write a short annotation of each source and include the complete bibliographic citation.
  • Read an editorial and find facts to support it.
  • Choose an autobiography of someone related to the course content. Find secondary sources which deal with an idea or event described in the autobiography. Compare and contrast the sources.
  • Select a scholar/researcher in a field of study and explore that person's career and ideas. Besides locating biographical information, students prepare a bibliography of writings and analyze the reaction of the scholarly community to the researcher's work.
  • Evaluate a website based on specific criteria.
  • Each student in the class is given responsibility for dealing with a part of the subject of the course. He or she is then asked to 1) find out what the major reference sources on the subject are; 2) find out "who's doing what where" in the field; 3) list three major unresolved questions about the subject; 4) prepare a 15 minute oral presentation to introduce this aspect of the subject to the class.
  • Assemble background information on a company or organization in preparation for a hypothetical interview. For those continuing in academica, research prospective colleagues' and professors' backgrounds, publications, current research, etc.
  • Conduct the research for a paper except for writing the final draft. At various times students are required to turn in 1) their choice of topic; 2) an annotated bibliography; 3) an outline; 4) a thesis statement; 5) an introduction and a conclusion.
  • Pick a topic and research it in literature from the 60s and 70s. Then research the same topic in the literature of the 80s and 90s. Compare and contrast the topic in a bibliographic essay.
  • To develop the ability to evaluate sources, students prepare a written criticism of the literature on a particular issue by finding book reviews, by searching citation indexes to see who is quoting the context of the scholarship in a particular field.
  • Students use bibliographies, guides to the literature and the Internet to find primary sources on an issue or historical period. They can contrast the treatment in the primary sources with the treatment in secondary sources including their textbook.
  • Choose a topic of interest and search it on the Internet. Cross reference all search engines and find all websites which discuss the topic. Like a research paper, students will have to narrow and broaden accordingly. The student will then produce an annotated bibliography on the topic, based solely on internet references.
  • For more sample ideas visit the Collins Memorial Library's list of library assignment ideas. 

Collins Memorial Library. “Ideas for Library-Related Assignments.” Pugetsound.edu, University of Puget Sound, www.pugetsound.edu/academics/academic-resources/collins-memorial-library/services/faculty-services/instructional-services/assignment-ideas/. Accessed 8 Mar. 2019.