Results from Project Information Literacy, an ongoing large-scale national research project, showed that the majority of sample handouts for research assignments did not adequately guide students to finding and using information. Some specific findings include:
“Six in 10 handouts recommended students consult the library shelves - place based source - more than scholarly research databases, the library catalog, the Web, or, for that matter, any other resource.”
“Only 13% of the handouts suggested consulting a librarian for assistance with research.”
“Few of the handouts (14%) that directed students to use the library’s online scholarly research databases…specified which database to use by vendor or file name from the hundreds that tend to be available.”
“Details about plagiarism, if mentioned at all, were scant and tended to emphasize the disciplinary recourse instructors would take against students who were caught in acts of academic dishonesty.”
According to Project Information Literacy research findings, “For over three-fourths (84%) of the students surveyed, the most difficult step of the course-related research process was getting started.” A well-designed handout for research assignments can help address this prevalent student need.
Librarians are available to meet with you to discuss the details of any research assignments you are creating or updating for your courses. Contact your library liaison today:
It is important to collaborate with librarians, anticipate student stumbling blocks, and have a list of resources ready to guide students successfully through the research process. Use this checklist to assist in the planning process.