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Research Toolkit: Understand Your Assignment

Read through your assignment instructions carefully. Here are some things to look for:

Due Dates
Check for due dates and put them into your calendar or planner. This will help with managing your time. Some assignments have different parts due at different times. Make sure to check all of the due dates! 


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


Style and Formatting
Requirements for style and formatting, such as font size, spacing, and citation style.  


Sources - What Kind? How Many?
The number and types of outside sources required to support your research. Think about where to look for different types of sources. Your instructor may allow you to choose the types of sources, in which case make sure you choose the best sources for your project.


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


Ask Questions
Ask your instructor for clarification if you don't understand the assignment.