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TCC Library: Research assignment tips

Designing a library research writing assignment

The TCC WRRAC (Writing Reading Researching Across the Curriculum) members have identified several "best practices" when designing a writing assignment for your students where library research is required. Here are just a few:

  • Ensure that your students have access to the necessary resources to successfully complete the assignment. Work with a librarian.

  • Create a handout for your students describing the goals, objectives and requirements of the assignment. Include:
    • Clarification of your requirements regarding the types of sources you will accept. Example: If your require that your students use a book as a source, is an e-book acceptable as well?
    • Clarification about what your expectations are for the quality of sources you will accept. What do you consider "reliable" or "authoritative"? Work with a librarian.

  • Ensure that your source requirements are appropriate for a wide variety of topics. Work with a librarian.

  • In addition to giving your students a due date, consider adding incremental due dates where your students hand in assignment proposals, source annotations, reference lists, samples of their source integrations, rough drafts,...
    • ...or provide your students with a suggested timeline for when they should complete each stage of their research and writing assignment.

  • Provide your students with the grading rubric you will use to evaluate their work. Include in that rubric grading criteria for the process and/or products of research. Work with a librarian.

See the TCC DLO's below that most directly apply to the information research and use process, as well as the Library's Program Learning Outcomes.

DLOs and student research

Two of TCC's Degree Learning Outcomes are directly applicable to the Library's instruction program and to student research/writing assignments:

  • Critical Thinking & Problem Solving (CRT): Compare, analyze, and evaluate information and ideas, and use sound thinking skills to solve problems.
  • Information & Information Technology (IIT): Locate, evaluate, retrieve, and ethically use relevant and current information of appropriate authority for both academic and personal applications.

TCC Faculty Librarians

Reference desk:

  • 253-566-5134



Source: "029.5" by Michael Perez is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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Except where otherwise noted, the content in these guides by Tacoma Community College Library is licensed under CC BY SA 4.0.

Tacoma Community College Library - Building 7, 6501 South 19th Street, Tacoma, WA 98466 - P. 253.566.5134