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Faculty Development: Creating research assignments

Use this guide to help you find and use the professional development resources available from the Library.

Creating research assignments

Row with bookcases with piles of booksThis page has suggestions for writing research assignments.  This can help your students get started on their assignment and know what is expected of them.


If you have any questions, please reach out using the contact information below.

Research assignment tips

These webpages have suggestions on creating research assignments.


Below are selected terms and definitions to help you decide whether that term/phrase matches what you want your students to use.  

Flipping through a dictionary


Review process / Audience:

  • Peer-reviewed journal*: Peer review is a process by which editors have experts in a field review books or articles submitted for publication by the experts’ peers. Peer review helps to ensure the quality of an information source. A peer-reviewed journal is also called a refereed journal or scholarly journal.

Our library has resources on identifying scholarly, poplar and trade sources here:


Credibility / Audience:

  • Academic/professional/credible/reliable sources: Define what that means to you and your subject area.

Our library has resources on evaluating sources here:


Research types:

  • Research+: Systematic investigation aimed at the discovery, interpretation, or revision of facts or accepted theories or to make practical applications with the help of such knowledge.
  • Primary source*: An original record of events, such as a diary, a newspaper article, a public record, or scientific documentation.
  • Secondary source*: Materials such as books and journal articles that analyze primary sources. Secondary sources usually provide evaluation or interpretation of data or evidence found in original research or documents such as historical manuscripts or memoirs.

Our library has resources on identifying primary and secondary sources here: 



Definitions with an asterik are from the ACRL IS Multilingual glossary found here.

Definition with a plus sign is from the University of Virginia Health Sciences Glossary of Research terms found here.

A note about APA Style

Define what APA Style means in regards to your assignment, especially if students are completing something other than a traditional paper like a discussion board, wiki, video, presentation, etc.  Person with various papers hanging on a wall


Some items to consider: 

  • Voice - Only third person voice or is first person allowed?
  • Title page - If no title page is required, where do the students put their names and other identifying information?
  • Running head
  • Abstract
  • Double spaced
  • Font choice
  • Margins
  • Headings used within the work
  • References - Are hanging indents required in non-paper formats?
  • In-text citations
  • etc.

Our library has resources on APA style here:



Activity from the Library Instructional Council, Maricopa Community Colleges:


Sample instructions:

Rubric to evaluate:

Who do I contact?

Reach out to us to discuss your assignment and class needs.


0-300 Level Courses

Amy Snyder



400 Level and Graduate Courses

Ryan Nadeau

                Ryan Nadeau


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