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According to research done by Head (2007), students struggle with the following aspects of academic research:
• Professor did not provide enough context/information (85%).
•Don’t understand expectations of college-level research (73%).
•Different expectations for different instructors (67%).
•Information overload (60%).
•Difficulty narrowing topics (59%).
Head, Alison J. “
Beyond Google: How Do Students Conduct Academic Research?” First Monday, vol 12, no. 8, 2007, n. pag.
Skills Needed for Academic Research
Qualities of Effective Research Assignments
Don’t assume your students are expert researchers
Clarify your assignment prompt
Don’t make unreasonable source format requirements
Focus on content of sources rather than format
Don’t assign unrelated library activities (scavenger hunts)
Make research and use of sources part of the grade
Don’t focus on a single library resource
Confirm that the library can support the project
Don’t give an “untested” assignment
Ask your colleagues to review your assignments
Who is responsible for teaching students research skills?
Library Faculty: 1 votes (33.33%)
Other Faculty: 0 votes (0%)
Both: 2 votes (66.67%)
Total Votes: 3
If you would like a librarian to visit your class to discuss any aspect of the research process, make your request using this Instruction Request Form.
How to Scaffold Research Assignments
•Identify the learning outcomes required for completing your research assignments
•Create low-stake opportunities for students to practice skills
Scaffolding Assignment Examples:
•Practice evaluating articles with the criteria important to the discipline / assignment
If your assignment requires students to use a particular, single resource that is not a textbook, consider placing the source on Reserve.