Answered By: Clay Howard
Last Updated: Aug 01, 2023     Views: 261

Creating Effective Research Assignments That Use Library Resources

The EKU Library Instruction program is committed to assignment-specific, topic-specific library instruction with the ultimate goal of producing students who are information literate. However, many students come to campus with very few of these skills.

Educational Objectives & Active Learning

So, in order to ensure that students gain from library research assignments, it is important that they understand the educational objectives that you have set. To ensure that educational goals are met, students should be actively engaged in their learning. Active learning can be achieved by a variety of methods and research assignments. For example, students may:

  • Select their own paper topic (as opposed to a single, assigned topic). This promotes involved and active learning.  But be aware that this will make the student responsible for ensuring that sufficient library sources are available, and many students will require guidance in distinguishing an academic topic from a popular one.
  • Prepare an annotated bibliography of scholarly and/or popular information sources on their topic.
  • Keep a log of their research processes, what they found, and how it influenced how they thought about their topic, and the information sources that they used.

Things to Avoid in a Library Assignment

Scavenger hunts and trivia pursuits often frustrate and confuse students when they can't find a source, or a purpose, for the questions. These are to be avoided.

Customized Library Instruction: Search Strategies & Library Resources

To address the complexity of information sources and the search strategies needed to access them, EKU Libraries offers hands-on, customized library instruction. Librarian instructors teach key information sources, effective search strategies, and how to evaluate what is retrieved. As a result, students will be able to find the quality materials they need for their research.


Adapted with permission from the UC Berkeley Library.

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