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Library Instruction Support

Resources and tips to create effective library assignment and instruction session for your students

Browse and Search for Sample Assignments

OER Sample Assignments

Below are links to Open Educational Resources (OER) repositories containing a variety of assignments and related course materials (e.g., readings, quizzes, simulations, assignments, and more).

Note: Both Merlot and OER Commons allow you to further limit your search results by sub-disciplines and material type. 

Best Practices

Tips for Designing Research Assignments

  • Consult with your Librarian Subject Specialist. A Librarian can work with you to design an effective assignment and identify appropriate research topics or resources based on our collection.
  • Tell your students why they are doing the assignment, what purpose it serves, and why it requires specific research materials from the library (books/ebooks, peer-reviewed articles, primary sources, data sets, etc.)
  • Provide specific directions and guidelines to the types of resources you would like students to research otherwise students will rely solely on Google.
    • For examples: you can be specific “Using library databases, locate 4-5 peer-reviewed articles”
    • For any type of library resource, use language such as: “Of the 4-5 sources, 1 must be a credible website, and the other 3-4 must be library resources (i.e. books/ebooks, newspaper, magazines or journal articles accessed through the library).”
  • Work through the research component of the assignment ahead of time to make sure there is a reasonable amount of information available on the topic.
  • Specify a citation style you prefer students adhere to.

Pit-Falls to Avoid

  • Many students experience library anxiety regarding research project. Encourage students to use Ask a Librarian services, reach out to their Librarian Subject Specialist, or request a library instruction session.
  • Students are often unfamiliar with the language associated with library materials or specific terminology.  It’s also confusing searching the different types of resources available through so many platforms. In addition, different platforms use different terminology, searching for peer-reviewed articles in one database could be labeled as academic or scholarly in another. Explain these terms to new students (e.g. monograph, popular sources vs. scholarly, peer-review, qualitative vs. quantitative, primary sources, secondary sources, reference resources, etc.)
  • Scavenger Hunts – Too often, the focus is on finding random facts rather than requiring students to learn research skills and think critically about the information they have found. Often students find these assignments uninteresting and frustrating. A good assignment asks students not only to find information, but also to reflect critically upon how they found it.

For more ideas visit: 

Designing Research Assignment: University of Windsor 

Designing Research Assignments: Assignment Ideas Columbia College 

Tips for a good library assignment: Stanislaus State University Library 

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