Research is an important mode of learning within every discipline. Information fluency and research skill development serve as a key part of Seton Hill's mission to “educate students to think and act critically, creatively, and ethically.” Effective research assignments offer students an opportunity to learn and practice these information fluency skills, such as basic search strategies, evaluation methods, and the knowledge of discipline-specific sources. Over time these projects enable students to develop effective research strategies that often result in a commitment to lifelong learning.
We hope this guide helps you to create effective research assignments that help your students to develop within your discipline while also honing their information and critical-thinking skills. If you have an assignment that has been yielding disappointing student product, this guide can also help you reverse-engineer your assignment to address common issues.
If you have any questions (or have an idea for something to add), please let us know!
- Kelly Clever (firstname.lastname@example.org) & Adam Pellman (email@example.com)
This guide is not intended to be used in its entirety for every one of your assignments. Your students may only be struggling with one or two of these problem areas. For example, they may be using current, scholarly sources, and engaging with primary source materials, but they may be having difficulty incorporating the information from those sources into the body of their paper.
You can access the individual pages of this guide by clicking on the tabs that run horizontally along the top. While you are welcome to review all the tabs listed in this guide, it is designed to let you select only those research skill areas in which your students are underperforming. We offer general tips and suggestions in the first tab, but each of the remaining tabs focuses on a specific aspect of research and information fluency, providing an overview of common problems that you may be seeing, along with suggestions for ways to help your students improve in that area. Some of these suggestions are brief introductory assignments or activities that students can complete before they begin their research, rather than suggestions for ways to improve a given research assignment itself.
Each of these tabs is tied to a category from the librarians' information fluency assessment rubric, which is used annually to evaluate student product from research assignments across the Seton Hill curriculum. If you would like to see the full rubric, or use this rubric yourself to evaluate product from an assignment in one of your own courses, you can find a link to the rubric in the box below.
NOTE: This is different from the information fluency course rubrics used in program reviews, which are used to track which teaching methods and assignments address various aspects of information fluency. This rubric is used to evaluate the level of skill demonstrated by the student in a submitted product.
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