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Research Toolkit: Understand Your Assignment

Read through your assignment instructions carefully. Some things to look for:

Check for due dates and put them in your calendar or planner. This helps you manage your time. Some assignments have different parts due at different times. Make sure you check all of the due dates! 


The length of the assignment, which may be required by number of pages, word count, or minutes for a presentation. The length of the assignment will help you determine the scope of your topic. 


Style and formatting requirements, such as font size, spacing, and citation style.  


The number and types of outside sources your instructor requires to support your research. Think about where to look for different types of sources. Sometimes your instructor allows you to choose the types of sources; in that case make sure you choose the best sources for your needs.

Topic guidance and suggestions. Some instructors may require you to select a topic from a list, while others allow to choose your own topic, within certain guidelines. Check for questions and ideas that your instructor wants you to address in the assignment. 


Please ask your instructor for clarification if you don't understand the assignment.