Subject Guides

Information Literacy Toolkit

Research Projects in Classes

This page outlines good practices with corresponding assignments to ensure a successful research project in your class. A few general considerations includes:

  • Scaffolding your assignments is recommended.
  • Be sure that students have an adequate amount of time to access available resources and complete research for assignments.
  • Stress the fact that librarians are available to help them with their research, tell them what we can help them with, and invite us into your classrooms to make a connection. Many students don’t know what librarians can help them with or are hesitant to ask for help.


Scaffolding research assignments gives your students opportunities for check in and plenty of time to navigate resources.

  • Research Question Abstract: This assignment helps students move from a broad topic to a question and allows the instructor to ensure students are on the right track before they get too far with their project.
  • Annotated Bibliography: This assignment ensures that students are on track to find the resources they need to answer their research question.: 
  • Everything But the Paper: In this sequence of assignments, each part builds upon the last.

Collaborative Work

Creating collaborative learning engagements for students is challenging. Consider smaller low stakes assignments that offer students opportunities to share knowledge, present, and work in a team in ways that acknowledge the complexities of online collaborative work.

  • Class expert and source evaluation: This assignment can be adapted to allow a group to do outside research on a class topic and present it to the class. Use the source evaluation worksheet to guide students through the questions they should be asking when they find research online.
  • Comparing sources: This assignment includes a lesson plan and worksheets for students to work in groups on evaluating different types of information.
  • If you choose to do a more in-depth collaborative research project, consider supporting your students in their shared research process.  Options include tools like a research log (which can be done collaboratively through GoogleDrive), and creating groups in citation management tools such as Zotero.

Staying organized

Requiring that students use a citation manager as part of their assignment will encourage organization in the research process and can facilitate collaboration. The Citation Management Subject Guide can help users determine the right citation management tool for them. Recommended tools are Zotero and Mendeley. 

Students can use the Research Calculator to help keep on track of their assignments. 

Services to Support your Teaching

This toolkit is a collection of assignments and activities created by librarians for use in the classroom. Librarians are here to assist you and your students. You can meet with librarians in person or online. We are also available over email and chat.

Research Skills Tutorials

Ideas on How to Implement the Research Skills Tutorials

1. Before Library instruction

Do your librarians have limited time with students to teach them research and information literacy skills?

It can be hard to balance teaching students the conceptual knowledge they need and the basic mechanics of research for their assignments in one sitting. Use multimedia to flip your library instruction. Students can go through multimedia on their own time (before or after class) to get basic concepts of information literacy. 

Benefit: Librarians can focus their in-person time with students on hands-on searching and practice for their assignment, and reinforcing information literacy concepts.

2. Scaffolded throughout your Course

Are you concerned about having enough time to cover your course’s content and incorporate research instruction into your syllabus? 

Use multimedia to flip information literacy instruction throughout several weeks of your course. Students can go through multimedia on their own time to learn basic concepts and practice research skills.

Reinforce IL concepts through the research assignments you planned to give as part of your syllabus - like annotated bibliographies, research papers, etc. Relevant multimedia can be shared with students at each step of a major research project. 

Benefit: Students can benefit from information literacy instruction without a significant impact on your syllabus.

3. As a Remedial Tool

Do some of your students need a refresher or additional help with how to do research (transfer students, non-traditional students, at risk students)?

Use multimedia as a remedial tool to for students who need to review basic information literacy skills. By making materials available online, students can get the help they need without significantly impacting your course syllabus. 

Benefit: Students who need additional help can benefit from information literacy instruction without a significant impact on your syllabus. 

More Information About Each Module

Below is a brief summary of what each module covers. Click the link to see all the components of each module, or check out the In-Depth teaching Guide linked above.