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Research Help Guide: Assignment Requirements

Understanding your assignment requirements (Video)

Getting Research Help

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Visit the Research Help Desk on the main floor of the Library for help.

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Workshops are scheduled throughout the term.

Online Guides and Videos

How-to guides and videos on writing, research and citation 

Quick Summary: Understanding your Assignment

1. Read your assignment and highlight important details (Due date, format etc)decorative

2. Figure out:

a). The Purpose – The essay will provide information, argue, analyze, or discuss a topic?

b). Who is the Audience? What is he/she expecting? 

c). What Sources are needed? 

Your Assignment Requirements

1. Read the assignment the entire way through once. This gives you an overall view of what is going on.


2. Mark (highlight) the portions that you absolutely must know. This information may include:

  • Due date,

  • How many sources, what types of sources

  • Page length,

  • Format (MLA, APA).


3. Mark (highlight) important phrases. Does your professor repeatedly use specific words in class? If these are in the assignment, you know your professor wants you to use them in the assignment.


4. Think about how you will address the assignment. The assignment contains clues on how to write the paper. Your professor will often describe the ideas s/he wants discussed either in questions, in bullet points, or in the text of the assignment.


 Ask your professor questions if you have any.


Now Can You Answer the Following Questions?

1. What is the purpose of this assignment? Is my purpose to provide information without forming an argument, to construct an argument based on research, or analyze a poem and discuss its imagery?


2. Who is my audience? Is my professor my only audience? Who else might read this? Will it be posted online? What are my readers’ needs and expectations?


3. What resources do I need to begin work? Do I need to read a specified source, conduct library research, or do I need to conduct empirical research, such as a survey or an observation? How many sources are required?


4. Who – beyond my professor – can I contact to help me if I have questions?

Writing Support?

The Library?

Learning Support Services?