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Library Research Assignments

Library assignments that integrate course content with information research enhance the educational experience for students, helping them to actively process the information and concepts in the course. For students to achieve this benefit, it is important that their experience be a positive one.

  • Verify library materials. For all assignments which mention specific sources, be sure the library currently has the source. This is also true for databases and indexes. Try pre-testing or proofing an assignment to be sure we currently have the sources and the instructions are clear.
  • Ask a librarian for assistance in making assignments if you are unsure of the best source to recommend. Students often take the professor’s word very literally. The library may have another source we recommend for a topic, but the students are reluctant since they have been told otherwise.
  • Refer students to the Reference Desk, especially if they are having difficulties, but even as a first stop. Students are remarkably reluctant to ask questions in the library. Let the Reference Coordinator (Minna Sellers, x7424, sellers_m@fortlewis.edu) know any specific assignments and reference staff will be more prepared to provide specific assistance to your students.
  • Specify a style manual for papers and bibliographies. Students often ask the reference librarian how to cite a source without knowing which standard to use.
  • Use Library Reserves. If a class will be using the same reference source for an assignment, consider requesting it be put on reserve for a short reserve time (1 hour) under your name and the course name and number. Call or e-mail Minna (x7424, sellers_m@fortlewis.edu) to have reference materials put on reserve.

    If you have materials or books the Library does not have and cannot order, you can put personal copies on reserve and they will be returned to you.

  • Consider a library instruction session for the class, if you will be requiring specialized research by your students. You might poll students about this option.