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Lehigh University Libraries - Library Guides

CITL Workshop: Designing Research Paper Assignments: Characteristics of Effective Assignments

Effective Assignment Checklist


This guide was created by Elizabeth Foster, Public Policy & Social Sciences Librarian for Georgetown University .  Many thanks to Elizabeth for sharing her work.

Clear Expectations

  • State the purpose of the assignment and the learning objectives.
  • Provide discipline-specific context: what does research mean in your discipline? How is research conducted, disseminated, and evaluated?
  • Provide logistical information: length, citation style, formatting, number of sources, acceptable and unacceptable sources, etc.
  • Provide evaluation criteria or a rubric.

Research Process

  • Topic selection: Provide some guidance on how to decide on a topic or design a manageable research question.
  • Recommended sources: Identify key databases and resources so students know where to start.
  • Critical thinking: If you usually emphasize finding and accessing information, take things a step further and also emphasize evaluating and synthesizing information from different sources.
  • Make research reflective: Have students compile research logs or write a brief reflection on the research process.

Library Resources and Support Services

  • Check to see if the library has the resources students will need to complete the assignment.
  • Share your subject librarian's contact information with your students.
  • Ask your subject librarian to make a course guide or visit your class for an instruction session.
  • Add your subject librarian to your CourseSite using the "librarian" role.
  • Promote online library resources, such as Lehigh's Library Guides and Interlibrary Loan.

Academic Integrity

  • Specify the required citation style.
  • Provide information about RefWorks, a citation management program provided by LTS.

Research Assistance

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