The following is a list of assignments that incorporate
information literacy objectives, and that can be easily adapted to
a variety of scholarly disciplines. See also, Characteristics
of Effective Information Literacy Assignments, and DNY
Anatomy of a Research
Paper. Students plan and perform research, without
actually writing a paper. Tasks include developing a research
question, providing an annotated bibliography of sources, and
writing an introduction, thesis statement, and conclusion. May
be used as a stand-alone assignment, or as preparation for a
Comparing Periodical Database and
Internet Search Results. Helps students
appreciate the differences between the information found on
the "free" Web available through Web search engines such as Google,
and information found in subscription periodical databases
such as ProQuest Direct.
Requires students to provide in-depth criticism and analysis of a
Wikipedia article. Students examine the bibliography of the
Wikipedia entry to see how well it supports the entry itself, and
then perform their own research to see if other sources either
corroborate or dispute the claims made in the Wikipedia entry. This
assignment addresses students research and critical
analysis skills. Download
Examining Bias in Periodical Articles. Helps
raise student awareness of bias in the media, while also honing
database research skills. Students locate and cite one article from
a conservative publication, and another on the same topic from a
liberal publication. Students then compare and contrast, and
evaluate the two articles.
Research. Students find two scholarly articles on the
same topic, and in a short paper, compare, contrast and
evaluate the two articles according to the quality of their
research. This assignment helps sharpen students' skills
of critical evaluation, and helps them appreciate the importance of
Letter to the
Editor. Teaches writing, critical thinking, and
research skills. Without doing any research, students write a
letter in which they take a position on a contemporary
issue. Students then share letters with their classmates, with
whom they give and receive feedback on ways that the letter could
be substantiated and improved. Students then develop a short
research paper from the letter. Download
Profile. Students use a variety of resources, including
field trips, books, historical newspaper articles, and Web sites to
create a profile of any New York City neighborhood of their choice.
This assignment can be modified to be a group project, and may be
Research in Reverse.
This assignment uses Professor Robert Tomes' New York City: A Brief
History, and requires students to provide footnotes for the text,
which is lacking them. This assignment teaches students the
importance of citing, not only to avoid plagiarism but to
substantiate claims and strengthen arguments.
Researching an Individual from
New York City History. This assignment teaches
students how to perform biographical research in the
context of New York City history, though it could be easily adapted
to other course subject matter as well. It requires students to use
primary source material, scholarly journal articles, and integrates
both RefWorks and Turnitin.
Researching Public Opinion with
Historical Newspapers. Students choose a present-day issue
or concern relating specifically to New York City, and using
historical newspaper articles, trace the history of public opinion
on the issue, showing how it has changed or remained the same over
time. Students present their findings in a short research paper of
roughly 1500 words, or 6 pages. This gives students
experience with the challenges of original research, where
evidence is often fragmentary or incomplete.
Summarizing an Article or Book.
Students write a brief summary of a book or article read in class,
in which they include a brief paraphrase of the author's thesis.
This assignment sharpens both reading and writing skills, and
teaches students how to use words economically, since the summary
cannot exceed a maximum number of words. It also reinforces the
importance of the thesis, not only in term papers, but in all
Modify an Existing Assignment.
The following page shows how an existing research assignment can be
easily modified to foster improved Information LIteracy skills in
Research Assignments for Improved Information
Geisel Library, Saint Anselm College. "Information Literacy
Assignments." Geisel Library, Saint Anselm College. May 11, 2007
Memorial University Libraries. "Ideas for Library/Information
Assignments." Memorial University Libraries. May 30, 2007. 2007.
SJLibrary.org. "Information Literacy Assignments Resource Center."
SJLibrary.org. June 27, 2007. 2007. <
For feedback or questions regarding this page, contact Ben Turner
Last updated, July 1, 2007.