When your professor assigns a research assignment, it’s a good idea to read it right away and make sure you understand the instructions.
Make sure you know the requirements for your assignment’s...
If you’re not sure of any of these requirements, ask your professor.
What should my project (i.e. paper, presentation, podcast, etc.) be about?
Your professor may ask you to pick your own topic under certain restrictions or guidelines.
Examples of topic guidelines:
We’ll cover strategies for choosing a topic later in this module.
What should my project do?
You may be asked to write a paper that does something, for example compares two related ideas or argues one side of a debate.
Look for these words like this in your assignment:
It can be tempting to summarize your topic, but instructions like these require you to read your sources critically to support your argument.
Who is the intended reader, viewer, listener, consumer of my project?
Your audience could be:
The sources you pick and your writing style may differ depending on your audience.
How long should my project be?
This will help you determine how broad or narrow to make your research question and how in-depth your research needs to be.
What types of sources are required?
Some professors require a number and mix of source types, for example 3-5 articles from a library database.
Some types of sources include:
You’ll learn more about finding sources in Module 3: Finding Sources.
What formatting and citation style should I use?
If your professor doesn’t require a specific citation style, pick one and use it consistently.
More about citation styles in Module 6: Citing sources.
Image: Research by Gregor Cresnar from the Noun Project