Home > Services for Faculty & Staff > Writing Research Assignments

Suggested Reading

Font size: AAA

Foster, N. F. & Gibbons, S. (Eds.). (2007). Studying students: The undergraduate research project at the University of Rochester. Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries.

The researchers use an anthropological approach to understand how students conduct research, view the library, and search for and select information sources. They also investigate faculty expectations of student research.

Head, A. & Eisenberg, M. (2010). Assigning Inquiry: How Handouts for Research Assignments Guide Today's College Students. The Information School, University of Washington.

One of several reports from Project Information Literacy. Findings from a national study suggest that handouts for academic research assignments provide students with more how-to procedures and conventions for preparing a final product for submission, than guidance about conducting research and finding and using information in the digital age.

Head, A. (2007). Beyond Google: How do students conduct academic research? First Monday, 12 (8).

Using combined methodologies of focus groups, content analysis of research assignments, and a survey of undergraduates, this study shows how students use a hybrid approach to research that includes consulting course readings, the free web, library databases, print sources, faculty, and librarians. The author makes recommendations for improving students’ skills in navigating the research process.

Holliday, W. & Li, Q. (2004). Understanding the millennials: Updating our knowledge about students. Reference Services Review, 32(4), 356-366.

The authors return to Kuhlthau’s model of students’ information seeking behavior and analyze the extent to which the model explains the behaviors of the current generation of college students, who are often referred to as "millennials."

Hurlbert, J. M., Savidge, C. R. & Laudenslager, G.R. (2003). Process-based assignments: How promoting information literacy prevents plagiarism. College & Undergraduate Libraries, 10 (1), 39-51.

Too often, students conceptualize the research paper in terms of its value as a product. This article presents a compelling argument about the value of emphasizing the research process, and how this can work to prevent plagiarism and enhance student learning.

Isbell, Dennis. (2008). What happens to your research assignment at the library? College Teaching, 56 (1), 3-6.

This article discusses strategies to assist students with the topic selection and refinement stage of a research project. Librarians often work with students who have vague or very broad ideas about a research topic; the author explains several approaches librarians employ in helping students refine their ideas. Ultimately the author recommends that faculty incorporate "process" into research assignments and build in strategies for identifying and narrowing topics.

Kuhlthau, Carol Collier. Information search process.

The author presents her groundbreaking research on the cognitive and affective experiences of the novice researcher. Kuhlthau’s model describes the actions, thoughts, and feelings that accompany each step of the research process. She also discusses the implications for librarians and others as they assist students who are engaged in research activities.

Lasley, E. (2013). Giving Students a Choice in Assignments Can Boost Creativity and Motivation. Faculty Focus: Higher Ed Teaching Strategies frm Magna Publications.

Mahaffy, M. (2006). Encouraging Critical Thinking in Student Library Research. College Teaching 54 (4), 324-7.

Professors are often displeased with the research and synthesis of thought demonstrated in many of their students' research papers. One way to address this problem is by rewording assignments to encourage critical thinking. By reworking traditional research assignments to reflect the five information literacy skills developed by the Association of College and Research Libraries, instructors can guide students through the research process in ways that actively develop critical thought processes.

Middendorf, J., & Pace, D. (2004). Decoding the disciplines: A model for helping students learn disciplinary ways of thinking. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 2004, (98), 1-12.

The authors discuss how faculty, who are deeply ingrained in their disciplinary research, can understand how students think and learn in their field.

Oberlin College Library. (2003). Incorporating Information Literacy into Oberlin’s First Year Seminars.

Originally designed to support First-Year Seminar Program faculty in incorporating information literacy into their courses, this is also a useful reference for non-FYSP courses. It provides practical suggestions for interweaving the research process with course content.

Parker-Gibson, N. (2001). Library assignments. College Teaching, 49 (2), 65.

Undergraduates often dread research assignments and view them with anxiety. The author discusses challenges students face when grappling with a research assignment, provides examples of situation and design problems, and offers suggestions for teachers in designing library assignments.
Last updated:
September 19, 2013