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Information Literacy Toolkit: Best Practices for Effective Library Research Assignments

Teaching, Learning & Assessment

Best Practices

Most students have limited library research experience. Here are some ideas for instructors that will help make your library research assignment a successful learning experience for your students:

  • Teach research techniques.
  • Collaborate with a librarian to develop a library instruction session for your students.
  • Consult with a librarian before designing the assignment.
  • Check to see whether the library has the resources your students will need.
  • Complete the assignment yourself before you assign it to your students.
  • Explain the assignment clearly—preferably in writing.
  • Encourage students to ask for help.
  • Provide students with examples of good assignments and highlight appropriate element parts.
  • Avoid scavenger hunts. Hunting for obscure library facts does not support learning library research methods.
  • Avoid arbitrary restrictions on sources and formats students can use.

Contact information

If you have any questions about this page, or would like further information, please contact Mary MacDonald - or Jim Kinnie -

You may also contact the subject specialist in your area. A list of subject specialists is available on this site. They can answer questions about...

  • Your assignment:
  • Print, non-print, and electronic resources that are available to the University of Rhode Island community.
  • Using University Libraries Reserves services.
  • Accomodating an entire class using specific sources.
  • Arranging for library instruction (a librarian meeting with your class in a Library Lab or your classroom during your regularly scheduled class time.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.