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Ideas for Library Assignments: Home

This guide offers ideas for how to encourage your students to use authoritative sources. Guide created by Librarian Emeritus Barbara Quarton.

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As a CSUSB faculty member, you have a unique resource available to you: the Critical Information Literacy Lab for Faculty. 

This online lab offers CSUSB faculty ideas and resources for integrating critical information literacy into their courses. You'll find student tutorials, videos, suggestions for discussion prompts, class activities, and readings that you can customize for use in your course.

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Topic Map

Ask students to create a quick topic map, which helps them think more broadly about their topic before jumping into their searches.

With their topic all spread out in front of them, students can decide which aspects of the topic they want to focus on.

And pop their keywords into OneSearch. Notice they can also limit to peer reviewed journals and by date.

Library Assignments: Challenges

Actual Assignments

These are assignments that CSUSB faculty created and used in their courses.

All these assignments are variations on the suggestions in this guide.

First Draft

If you like to have students turn in a first draft

Along with the first draft, ask your students to turn in a reflection about their research process.

Their reflection could develop several or all of the following ideas:

  • what research tools did you use?
  • what kinds of resources (books, articles, web sites) were most useful for your topic?
  • how did you decide if the information was credible?
  • if you had to do it over what would you do differently?
  • what did you learn about your own research process?

Source List

If you ask students to provide a list of sources before they turn in their paper

Along with their source list, ask students to write about how and where they found their sources and why they chose them. 

They could write with any/all of these prompts:

  • how did you find this source (library database? Wikipedia? Google? Google Scholar?)
  • what specific information did you get from this source?
  • how did this source help you to think differently about your topic?

Declaring a Topic

If you have students choose their own paper topic

  • Ask your students to turn in their topic along with a short essay describing what they already know about the topic and what they want to learn about it.
  • Ask students to explore an online encyclopedia to choose their topic. Print out/save the entry and explain why this topic is of interest to them. Optional: find one of the sources in the entry's bibliography and print it out.

A Critical Annotated Bibliography

Ask students to write a critical annotated bibliography (with at least 5 entries) on a topic related to your course or their paper. 

Students' annotated bibliography should include title, author, where published, when published, and brief summary of article, chapter, or book. 

What's new about this assignment? Add a piece on evaluation of sources:

After their summary of each source, ask students to write about the source's purpose and audience and its usefulness to the course/topic.

A Webliography for a Topic

Ask students to create a webliography that identifies and describes credible websites about their topic.

Along with links to websites and their descriptions, students explain why each source is useful to research in their topic. 

Important: students must say what makes each source credible. Encourage them to view the links below to help them figure out what makes a website credible.

Individual webliographies can be combined into a class webliography.