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Assignment Calculator - Instructor Version

Since updating our website, this version of the Assignment Calculator has broken.  The Instructor Version has a temporary home here.


The Assignment Calculator (student version) breaks up big research project into manageable chunks, with a suggested timeline and resources to help students at every stage of their research.  This page is the instructor version. It includes the same steps and instructions as the student version, along with suggestions and resources for support including opportunities for library instruction. Library instruction is most effective when tied to a specific research assignment and tailored to the current stage of the research process.

To view the calendar, enter a Start Date (the earliest day you expect students to begin work on your project) and End Date, the date the assignment is due. 

Start Date:
  End Date:

 

Description and Help*Due Date
1. Understand Your Assignment

Students often begin working without understanding the true scope of an assignment. Or they may delay starting because they don’t understand how much they actually have to do!  We hope this calculator will help, but you can also refer students to the Libraries or other academic services, like the Writing Center or Academic Enhancement if they need help.

Library Instruction Opportunity at this stage:  Library instruction would be more beneficial at a later stage in the research process.  At the beginning stages, we suggest that instructors focus on making sure students understand the assignment. Be sure to explain your research expectations and define your source requirements. Encourage students to Ask Us at the library when they get to the point of needing help.

Our instruction sessions are directly tied to your course research assignment and should be scheduled at point of need, as close as possible to the time when students are just beginning their research. To schedule a session, use our instruction request form.

Student instructions for this stage:

This is an important first step that can save you a lot of heartache later! As soon as you receive your assignment, be sure to read through it carefully. Note any deadlines for submitting your topic, sources, outlines or early drafts. If you have any questions about the assignment, consult your instructor. Add important dates to your personal calendar. If your project involves creating multimedia, consider making an appointment at the Media Depot for a tour of available tools you can use.

2. Define Your Topic

A “bad” topic may result in a bad paper, or at least a paper that is more difficult to write.  A librarian would be happy to help a student who is having trouble coming up with a suitable research topic. Students can make an appointment, stop by a service desk, or use the Ask Us service for more help options.

Library Instruction Opportunity at this stage:  This would be a great stage for a library instruction session, focused on helping students develop an appropriate research topic.

Our instruction sessions are directly tied to your course research assignment and should be scheduled at point of need, as close as possible to the time when students are just beginning their research. To schedule a session, use our instruction request form.

Student instructions for this stage:

A well-defined topic will be easier to research. Follow these tips to get started:

  • The first idea you come up with is likely too broad or too narrow to be a good research topic. Do a little background research on your idea to turn it into an appropriate research question. A collection of subject specific encyclopedias like the Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL) is an excellent place to start.
  • Write down what you already know or don't know about the topic.
  • Using the information you wrote down, develop questions you'd like to answer when doing your research. Use probing questions such as why? how? what if? should? Avoid questions that can be answered with yes or no.

Don't be afraid to consult with your instructor on the direction of your project. Minimally, send him/her an email and ask for feedback on your proposed topic. Now is also a great time to make an appointment with a librarian to provide guidance on locating information and resources to help you refine your topic.

3. Gather Resources (Library Research)

Please encourage students to contact a librarian at any point for help identifying and using appropriate resources.  Encourage students to start from the library website (http://libraries.uky.edu/) to be sure they have access to resources if they are off-campus.  If you have specific resources you want to promote to your class, consider asking your subject liaison to create a Course Guide for you.

Library Instruction Opportunity at this stage:  At this stage of the research process, a librarian could talk with your class about the research process, including how to choose appropriate search terms, using a library database that is suited to your research assignment.

Our instruction sessions are directly tied to your course research assignment and should be scheduled at point of need, as close as possible to the time when students are just beginning their research. To schedule a session, use our instruction request form.

Student instructions for this stage:

Plan your search strategy and identify primary resources, including library databases.

  • If you are new to library research, you might start with a general article database, such as Academic Search Complete.
  • If you think you need a more specific database, consult the Research Guide for your course subject area.
  • Use the Library Catalog (InfoKat) to find books, journal titles (not articles), DVDs and more.

Get Text If you see the Get Text button as you search click on it to find out how to access full-text articles. Because you're planning ahead, you may even be able to use Interlibrary Loan to access items not owned by UK.

4. Read and Evaluate Information

Librarians can work with students one-on-one or in groups to help them formulate a research strategy and conduct an effective search.  We can help them choose an appropriate database to find scholarly information relevant to their topics.

Library Instruction Opportunity at this stage:  An instruction session at this stage could focus on evaluating sources and using them appropriately.  Possible topics include identifying a scholarly article, evaluating websites, and tips for avoiding plagiarism.

Our instruction sessions are directly tied to your course research assignment and should be scheduled at point of need, as close as possible to the time when students are just beginning their research. To schedule a session, use our instruction request form.

Student instructions for this stage:

Be sure to keep track of your sources and record the citation information as you go.

  • Library databases are not Google. Review the Search Strategies guide for tips about how to search successfully. If you need help, this is a great time to make an appointment with a librarian or contact us by email, chat, or phone.
  • Evaluate the gathered information for your research:
    • Have you found enough information on your topic?
    • Does the information support your thesis?
    • Have you answered the questions: What, Why, Where, When, How?
5. Write the First Draft

Encourage your students to consult the Writing Center for help during the writing process. Students can also come to the library for help

Library Instruction Opportunity at this stage:  During the writing stages, library instruction could include help with refining topics, addressing issues such as finding too few or too many sources, or finding an additional source or two to improve your discussion/argument.

Our instruction sessions are directly tied to your course research assignment and should be scheduled at point of need, as close as possible to the time when students are just beginning their research. To schedule a session, use our instruction request form.

Student instructions for this stage:

Start with an outline:

  • Organize your ideas.
  • Organize your notes.
  • Outline the format of your paper, project, or presentation.

For the first draft, don't worry as much about writing style. Focus on trying to get your ideas down in a logical order. Look for any obvious holes in your argument.

6. Conduct Additional Research, if needed

Hopefully this assignment calculator will help students plan their work so that they have time to do this kind of review of their progress!  

Library Instruction Opportunity at this stage:  Now that students have incorporated sources into their first draft and have received instructor feedback, this would be an optimal time to schedule a library session focused on finding good sources.

Our instruction sessions are directly tied to your course research assignment and should be scheduled at point of need, as close as possible to the time when students are just beginning their research. To schedule a session, use our instruction request form.

Student instructions for this stage:

Your thesis may have evolved as you have been doing your research. Maybe you found an interesting idea to explore, or a piece of information changed your point of view. This is to be expected! Now is a good time to review your assignment and the work you've done so far to see if you need to conduct a little more research.

  • Reread your assignment.
  • Keep looking for more resources that support your thesis or argument.
  • You may want to consult with your instructor if your thesis has changed significantly.
7. Revise and Rewrite (Second Draft)

At this stage, students may need help citing their work in the format required by the assignment.  In addition to consulting the Writing Center at this stage, encourage students to talk with a librarian if they need help citing their sources or if they are still looking for that perfect article to support their thesis!

Library Instruction Opportunity at this stage:  During the writing stages, library instruction could include help with refining topics, addressing issues such as finding too few or too many sources, or finding an additional source or two to improve your discussion/argument.

Our instruction sessions are directly tied to your course research assignment and should be scheduled at point of need, as close as possible to the time when students are just beginning their research. To schedule a session, use our instruction request form.

Student instructions for this stage:

At this stage, you may want help with your writing. Even if your final project is an oral presentation, you should prepare a written draft. Make an appointment with the Writing Center.

  • Complete bibliography.
  • Refer to the Style Guides and Manuals research guide for help. Make sure your citation format matches the requirements of the assignment.

Be sure to proofread. Look for spelling and grammatical errors. Does your draft fulfill the assignment requirements? You may want to have someone else read it, to look for typos you may not notice yourself.

8. Final Draft

Even during the final stages of writing, students can get help at the Libraries! Encourage them to Ask Us for help. And encourage students also to contact the Writing Center.

Library Instruction Opportunity at this stage:  This is a good time for individual or small group student appointments for help in refining and addressing any lingering concerns such as finding too few or too many sources or finding an additional source or two to improve your discussion/argument.

Our instruction sessions are directly tied to your course research assignment and should be scheduled at point of need, as close as possible to the time when students are just beginning their research. To schedule a session, use our instruction request form.

Student instructions for this stage:

Write the final draft of your paper or script, or complete the final project. Again, you may want to contact the Writing Center for help. Submit your project on time!

* Ask Us for help at any point during this process!
Ask Us

Based on the Assignment Calculator from Gulf Coast State College Library, http://www.gulfcoast.edu/library/AssignmentCalculator/frontpage.html

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