- Separate assignments into skills such as abstracts, research logs,
literature reviews, and oral presentations that are sequenced
progressively over a semester timeline to lead up to a final research
project. For an assignment with sequential due dates, see this example
from the Dean’s Book Course at Commonwealth College. For more
information about how to sequence writing assignments, see scaffolding section of the Junior-Year Writing site.
- Ask groups of students to research one topic from different
perspectives. Have each develop an individual research log, which can
then be shared with the other students. Working in groups sharing
information is one of the key competencies of all academic and
professional as well as citizenship contexts. Encourage groups to meet
in the Learning Commons.
- Require students to put together several distinct components
such as literature reviews and data analyses in researching and writing
a paper. For a user-friendly guide to teaching research skills, see Research Tools from the Office of Research Literacy at Commonwealth College.
- Assign due dates for drafts of assignments. Collect drafts
for teacher feedback and/or for peer feedback. Assigning drafts helps
ensure students don’t write at the last minute and also provides an
opportunity for students to revise in response to another’s assessment
of their work. Finally, require these earlier drafts be turned in with
the final draft; students are less likely to “make up” an entirely new
draft to cover up plagiarism than to write the paper themselves.