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Suggestions for designing your research assignments with student success in mind.

Define terms

The same terminology may have very different meanings across different disciplines; defining terms like "primary source" "scholarly", "peer-reviewed" or "refereed" article helps your students and the reference librarians find materials that meet your requirements.

Require stages

Requiring students to turn in topics for approval, share research logs, create an annotated bibliography, and write a rough draft not only helps students create a better finished product, it helps prevent intentional plagiarism as well.

Allow enough time to order and analyze materials

For most upper-division research students will need to order materials from the main campus, from Summit libraries, or from interlibrary loan. This process can take as little as two days (for materials held in Corvallis) or as long as a few weeks (for some interlibrary loans.)

Test your own assignment

Check to be sure your students have access to the materials they need (or be sure they have adequate time to order materials and warn them they may need to do so.) This is especially recommended for assignments developed at another institution or even developed on the main campus.

Give a model

When you have a student who creates an exemplary research project ask if you can share it with your future classes.