Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Creative Research Assignments

This guide offers suggestions for faculty interested in designing research assignments as alternatives or complements to the traditional term research paper.

Overview: A Process for Designing Creative Research Assignments

  • Start with Outcomes
    • What exactly is it that you want your students to be able to do? How can they demonstrate that to you with observable actions?
    • Example Info Lit Outcomes: 
      • Construct a search strategy using a library search tool [observable action] in order to efficiently generate viable secondary sources which fit the requirements of a given assignment [purpose].
      • Explore primary source collections [observable action] in order to find documents which extend common historical assumptions [purpose].
      • Describe the authority of a scholarly article [observable action] in order to determine its relevance to a given research project [purpose].
  • Consult with Your Librarian Liaison: Your librarian can suggest
    • assignments which match your discipline and learning outcomes;
    • resources to facilitate student research processes;
    • instruction and consultations related to student learning related to research; and
    • assessment and feedback strategies for describing student performance.
  • Plan for any Tech Needs: Ask yourself what technologies will students need to complete this assignment, and what instruction and access might they need to use that technology. Consult with your librarian liaison and, possibly, Media Services to answer these questions.
  • Phase the Assignment: Break term projects into steps, so that students can get feedback on each phase in the research process. For example, consider
    • Research proposals to give feedback on research design and topic development.
    • Annotated bibliographies to give feedback on accessing, searching, and collecting relevant literature.
    • Research journals to give feedback on managing complex research projects.

Resources