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Examples of Library Research Assignments

By The Room 241 Team May 9, 2013

Every student must develop library research skills in order to complete academic work in most subjects throughout their academic careers. More specifically, they will apply these skills along with library support services when researching information for essays, reports and projects.

However, library research skills are applicable well beyond the classroom, as adults benefit from library research for work as well as for leisure. Students who complete assignments that develop their ability to conduct library research are establishing a lifelong knowledge on how to find, decipher, and interpret information.

There are many ways to develop good library research skills. Here are tips that will help students get started.

Lead with librarians

Librarians are key to the success of assignments for students related to library research abilities. Utilize the opportunity to involve librarians by asking them for ideas for creating assignments. Librarians can also evaluate an assignment to determine its effectiveness and offer advice for making assignments more relevant. Also, contacting a librarian ahead of time regarding an assignment will alert them that students will be in the library doing a particular activity. Creating a partnership with the librarian will be beneficial for students who are dealing with multiple instructors while learning about skills with library research.

Establish concrete objectives

The first step for conducting solid library research is to set concrete objectives. Also, the student must understand what the skill is that they are implementing in an assignment. For example, the student might be learning how to write citations in a bibliography or how to research databases. However, if the assignment makes assumptions that the student already understands the reason for learning these research skills, it will not be as conducive. The assignment must include clear goals, along with supplemental information, such as how the particular skill relates to the library or other academic subjects.

Application of the skill

Learning about any particular research skill can be a tedious chore if the assignment is not made interesting for the student. Integrate a library research activity in with other assignments to create a meaningful connection. For instance, if introducing how to search for scholarly sources, an assignment could be a part of a research project on a topic of interest to the student. Assignments that encourage students to put their new research skill into action have more staying power compared to a straightforward assignment that simply focuses on the skill.

Relevance is key

Making the research skill assignment relevant and exciting to the student is essential. When a new skill for library research is introduced, by incorporating it with other related activities, the student is more likely to recall the skill later on. For example, for an assignment that is focused on how to research primary resources, a trip to a museum or historical site would be highly relevant and interactive. The student would have the chance to see a skill put to use in the real world while learning how to conduct the appropriate steps for success.

Involve library support services

Given that library research skills involve the library, it is only natural to incorporate support services at the library. Involve the library research department and applicable services when creating assignments that teach research skills. For example, a librarian could visit a classroom to teach the students how to look for scholarly reference sources on the Internet. Additionally, librarians may be willing to work with students in groups or individually to conduct research in the classrooms.

Instructors who are tasked to teach skills related to library research, such as the difference in primary and secondary sources or how to conduct scholarly research, have an important job. With preparation and planning, these assignments can be beneficial for students. The most important things to remember when creating these assignments are relevance and application. By creating a partnership with a library and its librarian, instructors are more capable of assisting students with library research.

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