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Faculty Guide to the Library

Find out what the library can do to help you save time and connect your students to expert research guidance.

Research Process & Skills

  • Explicitly tie the assignment into the course objectives and learning outcomes so students understand the purpose.
  • Break the assignment into manageable pieces and due dates: e.g., topic proposal, detailed outline and/or annotated bibliography, first draft.
  • Develop assignments that require real world, problem-solving activities to develop students' critical thinking skills.
  • Consider what workplace skills students need to develop beyond "written communication" to integrate into the assignment.
  • Don't assume students have successfully done college-level research prior to your class! Ask students at the start of the semester or when giving the assignment what they've experienced before. Encourage them to meet with a librarian. Recommend guides and tutorials they can use to develop their understanding.


  • Always provide your assignment guidelines in writing for your students to refer to (it also helps the librarians and writing coaches assist your students!).
  • Be specific. Be clear what you mean by "scholarly." If you forbid websites, suggest library databases as alternative sources that would be acceptable.
  • Choose a citation style for your students to follow (MLA, APA, or Chicago) and don't introduce custom variations.

Library Resources

  • Verify that the library has adequate resources for your students to complete the assignment, especially if it's been a while since you've used the assignment or you teach at multiple institutions.
  • Recommend databases by name, not by vendor (e.g. it's "Academic Search Complete," not "EBSCO.")