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For Faculty

A guide for Everett Library services for Queens faculty

Information Literacy

As an instructor, you have final say and responsibility for your course, but that doesn't mean you have to develop the entire course and every assignment on your own.

Librarians are research and information literacy experts, which means we can collaborate with you to incorporate information literacy concepts into course assignments to help students understand:

  • What elements make an information source authoritative and credible, and how context affect this evaluation
  • How information is created and shared, and how this affects the way we evaluate it
  • How to appreciate the value of information as a commodity, as a social good, and as a legal and ethical concept
  • Why research is an iterative, open-ended process of inquiry
  • How scholarship is an evolving conversation in which students can actively participate
  • How to approach information searching strategically to move through the research process effectively and thoroughly

For a fuller discussion of these concepts, please see the Association of College & Research Libraries' Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education.

Library Instruction Sessions

To schedule an instruction session for your course, please contact your liaison librarian.

As an educational partner, the library is here to support you as you develop instructional materials and activities that help students meet learning objectives. To accomplish this, we strive to ensure our instruction is as effective as possible and is the best use of everyone's time.

We believe we can best provide instruction sessions to help students develop research and information literacy skills by:

  • Ensuring clear expectations for student learning outcomes
    • Let us know if there is a specific skill or tool your students should learn
  • Mapping instruction to specific assignments
    • Students are much more likely to retain information and develop skills they can immediately apply
  • Assessing student learning
    • We strive to include mechanisms for assessment in every instruction session to ensure that we are meeting students' learning needs
  • Providing adequate time
    • While some discrete skills can be learned in a 20 minute session, research is a time-consuming process
    • Thus, research takes time to teach
  • Allowing for active learning
    • Just like disciplinary skills, research and information literacy skills are best developed through hands-on activities

To schedule an instruction session for your course, please contact your liaison librarian.

Instructional Design

The library is excited to collaborate to design assignments that help students build research and information literacy skills. 

We also encourage you to work with the Hayworth Center for Digital Learning as well as the Center for the Advancement of Faculty Excellence (CAFE) for help with instructional design.

However, we have some general tips for research assignments specifically:

Ask yourself:

  • What are my goals for students in completing this assignment?
  • What are my assumptions about the students doing this work?
    • What terms should they already know?
    • What background knowledge should they already have?
    • What research experience do they have?
  • What have been learning bottlenecks with this assignment in the past?

(The Ohio State University Teaching & Learning Resource Center, n.d.)


Being clear about your expectations for student work will help them understand both what skills or dispositions you want them to develop and what they need to do to successfully complete the assignment.

  • For research assignments, some small things to be explicit about include:
    • Purpose of the assignment (how it fits into the larger goals of the course and what they'll learn from the process)
    • How you'll evaluate their assignment, provide models (you could even give them the chance to evaluate the models)
    • Number & types of sources
    • How students should handle citations
  • Additional recommendations: 
    • Don’t ask too many questions
      • Don’t create a long checklist that students feel like they have to organize their project around
    • Avoid suggesting or expecting that there’s an ideal response to the assignment
      • Don’t make students feel like they need to read your mind

 (Boye, 2020)


Rather than assign one or two large research assignments, break larger assignments down into their component parts, giving students feedback throughout the process. This emphasizes process over product and produces better student learning (Boye, 2020).


In addition to making sure that research assignments can be completed by students, regardless of disability, it's important to ensure that students can actually get to the types of sources they need to complete the assignment.

Check to make sure that the resources you expect students to use to complete their assignments are available through the library or freely available elsewhere. Your liaison librarian can help you find these materials or alternatives.

Additionally, encourage your students to seek out needed resources, such as:


It’s important to give students a chance to reflect on the process of searching for, evaluating, and incorporating information into their own work. This helps students develop critical thinking skills and the ability to transfer skills across disciplines (Mello & Wattret, 2021).

This means it’s helpful to communicate feedback throughout the process, rather than just for the end product, and to also give students a chance to give feedback.

We encourage you to have your students keep a research journal to take notes about:

  • What drew their interest to the topic
  • How they’ve searched for literature
    • Key concepts
    • Search terms & strategies
    • Databases & search engines
    • Scholars and voices in the discipline
  • Reflections on the process

We also recommend giving students the chance to make the assignment their own, such as letting them choose the topic or format of the final product. This increases engagement and leads to stronger student work (Boye, 2020).


Boye, A. (2020, January 1). How Do I Create Meaningful and Effective Assignments? Texas Tech University Teaching, Learning, & Professional Development Center.

Mello, L. V., & Wattret, G. (2021). Developing transferable skills through embedding reflection in the science curriculum. Biophysical Reviews, 13(6), 897–903.

The Ohio State University Teaching & Learning Resource Center. (n.d.). Designing Research or Inquiry-Based Assignments. Teaching and Learning Resource Center. Retrieved February 9, 2024, from

University of Washington Department of English. (n.d.). Teaching Research Practices. Teaching Research Practices. Retrieved February 9, 2024, from