This is the "Characteristics of Effective Assignments" page of the "Designing Research Assignments" guide.
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Designing Research Assignments   Tags: faculty research assignments alternatives to research papers  

Clear learning outcomes for library-based research
Last Updated: May 1, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Characteristics of Effective Assignments Print Page

Effective Assignment Checklist

Download the Effective Assignment Checklist


This guide was originally created by Elizabeth Foster, who is currently Public Policy & Social Sciences Librarian for Georgetown University and is used with her permission and that of Lehigh University. Resources were created for a workshop by the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning CITL at Lehigh University.


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 liaison librarian's contact information with your students.
  • Ask your liaison librarian to make a course guide or visit your class for an instruction session.
  • Add your liaison librarian to your Course on Canvas 
  • Promote online library resources, such as RVC's Library Guides and Interlibrary Loan.

Academic Integrity

  • Specify the required citation style.

Research Assistance


Maria Figiel-Krueger   815 921-4606

Steve Thompson   815-921-4612

Brent Eckert  815-921-4604

RVC Library

815-921-4619 (reference desk)



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