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Designing Better Research Assignments

Assignment Ideas

One of the simplest ways to improve the design of your research assignment is to ensure you are scaffolding the process of research. 

Scaffolding the Research Assignment

  • Annotated bibliography
  • Analyze a single or several key publication(s) (e.g. a key journal) from your discipline. Scan multiple issues/volumes and identify trends, current topics of interest/debate as well as key authors and scholarly conversations.
  • Unresearch paper
  • Prepare an "Everything but the Research Paper"
  • Compare/contrast a scholarly article and a popular article on the same topic
  • Complete and submit a research log along with the final research assignment.  The research log describes the steps taken throughout the research process (i.e. getting started, narrowing scope, successes and failures in literature searching, pivots in direction, etc.)
  • Submit a research log or a screenrecording of doing library research with narration, reflecting on what they are finding.
  • Create a course library research guide for students taking this class next semester.
  • Engage students in activities to help them develop their research question.


University of Connecticut Library. Alternatives to Research Papers. (n.d.). Retrieved from

University of Texas Libraries. Information Literacy Toolkit. Retrieved from

Hosier, A. (2015). Teaching Information Literacy Through "Un-Research". Communications in Information Literacy, 9(2), 126-135.

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