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Designing Better Research Assignments

Research Log

Have students keep a diary of their research process for their assignment/project. Diary entries could include:

  • Descriptions of research sessions including their most productive (as well as least productive) search strings (including any limits).
  • Record which research tools were used as well as best keywords or subject terms.
  • Reflections on how their approach to researching the topic potentially changed (or not) based on search results and 'reading' the search results.
  • Summarize pivot points during the research process where the students decided to broaden or narrow their topic.  Students reflect on why and how they pivoted from their original question/topic.
  • Option: Student records a short, narrated screenrecording of their research process, reflecting on what they learned during this process.


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

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