Ask students to document their search process and sources to help students become familiar with databases, the importance of search terms, and how to properly format references.

Ask students to document their search process and sources to help students become familiar with databases, the importance of search terms, and how to properly format references.
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Action:

  • Pick a sufficiently narrow topic or term and ask students to:
    • identify 3 articles that are likely to be relevant to that topic
    • list which database(s) they used and why they found those databases appropriate
    • list their search terms
    • provide the bibliographic information, properly formatted, for all 3 articles
  • Build on the former activity by asking students to read and summarize the abstracts of the papers they found during their research process.
  • An alternative assignment: after students have written a brief response paper to an issue, text, artwork, etc. ask them to write a second paper, based on their research of the issue/text/artwork, in which they
    • choose 2 or 3 sources
    • summarize the views in those sources
    • properly cite those sources
    • and state how their own views are in line with or contrary to the scholarly views.

Reason:

  • An assignment that makes the steps of a research process explicit helps students better master these skills.