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Research Assignments by McDaniel Faculty

 

One of the most effective ways to develop students’ critical thinking skills is to design assignments that combine library research and information literacy. A research assignment that gives students the chance to use and integrate information resources is a great way to encourage them to think critically about the materials they are using. Below are links to assignments developed by McDaniel College faculty that incorporate information literacy skills and library research into assignments.

Discerning between scholarly and popular publications
Learning the difference between scholarly versus popular publications requires students to think critically about information and to choose articles that are appropriate and lend credibility to their research.

This is an assignment designed by Robin Armstrong (for her Afro-Hispanic Music class) that encourages students to think critically about information and to choose the appropriate articles needed to complete an annotated bibliography.
(Incorporates ACRL Standards: 1, 3)

Locating and evaluating internet sites
Due to the increase of information available on the world wide web it is important for students conducting research to critically evaluate information retrieved to ensure quality and accuracy.

Mary Bendel-Simso and Julia Jasken designed this assignment that teaches  students to evaluate information from internet sites using the following criteria: accuracy, authority, currency, objectivity, and coverage.
(Incorporates ACRL Standards: 2,3)

Debates
This works well with controversial topics, and encourages students to support their opinions with analysis and data from the field. Requiring a bibliography of the sources they used gives practice in the mechanics of citation, and helps the instructor assess the range of materials they consulted.

Click here for an assignment designed by Cathy Orzolek-Kronner that requires students to research a viewpoint in a First Year Seminar class.
(Incorporates ACRL Standards: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Research Paper
Research papers require students to develop topics, find information, and critically interpret resources to create a convincing and developed final product.

This assignment designed by Andi Hoffman (for her EPE Motor Development class) requires students to find appropriate resources, develop an outline, and create an annotated bibliography.  The assignment also requires students to review and provide constructive feedback of their classmates’ papers.
(Incorporates ACRL Standards: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Research Blog
A research blog (or log) provides a good introduction to how information is organized in libraries. It encourages students to think about the choices they must make as researchers and why some material is more useful than others.

This assignment, designed by Robin Armstrong, requires students to evaluate the resources used for her World Music Survey class, and post them on the class blog.
(Incorporates ACRL Standards: 3, 4)

Wiki
A wiki assignment can support collaborative development of information resources and dissemination of information.  A wiki can also encourage students to evaluate and reflect on materials they include in a wiki.

Click here to view the instructions for a wiki assignment developed by Brett McMillan for his Field and Taxonomic Botany and The Plants of Maryland at McDaniel College classes.  And click here for the actual wiki.
(Incorporates ACRL Standards: 1,2,3,4)