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This worksheet is tailored specifically for evaluating a primary or archival source by addressing issues of audience, authority, bias, accuracy, and tone. It also asks students to examine the source within the broader historical context (for example, the time period, social movement). An optional question asks students to find two other sources that interpret the archival document in order to help draw their own conclusions.

Students do outside reading of sources they identify and evaluate themselves and use the information they discover to inform an in-class discussion of the topic. For example, ask each student to find background information about a topic you will be covering in class that week and serve as the class “expert” on that topic during the class discussion.

Students find a popular and scholarly article on a topic related to the class, briefly summarize the articles and describe how they differ. They can also be asked to keep a research log about how they found the articles.

Students select a topic and compare how that topic is treated in several different sources.

Students select sources on a topic and then cite, summarize, evaluate and reflect upon each source.

This assignment helps students map their controversy and find a variety of viewpoints.

Students 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.

This assignment asks students to find a peer reviewed article relate to a course assignment or course material and evaluate it.

Students read an editorial and find facts to support it. The instructor can also have students write an editorial and attach the research they did to support it.

Assemble background information on a company or organization in preparation for a hypothetical interview. For those continuing in academia, research prospective colleagues' and professors' backgrounds, publications, current research, etc.

First-year students learn best from assignments that provide concrete and specific guidance on research methods.  Librarians can help you design assignments that will guide your students toward effective research, and this rubric is one tool we use to do that.

Apply the Research Guidance Rubric for Assignment Design to your assignment to ensure that it has:

  • Clear expectations about source requirements
  • A clear rationale and context for resource requirements
  • Focus on the research process
  • Library engagement

This log helps students document their research strategy and keep track of where they found their sources. Instructors can require students to turn this document in with their papers.

Prior to beginning a research paper or project, students are asked to write a short abstract that carefully considers their research question, their role as a researcher (synthesizer, reviewer, problem-solver, etc), the importance of their research question, and the information resources they will need to consult to answer that question. This assignment helps students move beyond researching a broad topic and towards narrowing the focus of their project to a research question. Adapted from an assignment in Professor Stephen Reese's UGS 302: Understanding 9/11 in Fall 2011.

This assignment asks students to evaluate sources they use for their research. Students are asked to cite the source, identify the source type, discuss the purpose, examine the credibility of the author, discuss the accuracy of the information, and discuss currency.

Use this rubric with the Source Analysis Assignment.

Students write the executive summary of a grant proposal, by doing research for the problem statement or statement of need section as well as the measurable objectives section.

Asking students to create an entry or edit an existing entry for Wikipedia inspires a mental shift as they begin to think of themselves as authorities or experts to be held accountable for their contributions to a living and constantly tended international conversation, to back up claims with evidence and to call attention to information or individuals that maybe excluded from the canon.

This approach maybe useful for courses with discussion of social justice or marginalized conversations.

Activity that walks students through the process of reading and synthesizing scholarly sources.  Includes:

  • Sample lesson plan
  • Sample slides
  • Sample student worksheet