Skip to Main Content

Instruction Services: Bibliographic Research in Writing

Library Support for Bibliographic Research in Writing Courses

Bibliographic Research in Writing classes are a key site of collaboration between faculty and the library. The BRW requirement is the place in LC's general education program where students are required to engage in research-based writing.

Contact your department liaison to discuss how the library can support your students in these classes.

Assignment Design to Support Student Learning

Librarians are happy to consult on how best to support students in a particular BRW course, with any kind of research assignment. We are also eager to work with faculty to design assignments that effectively introduce students to library research.

Carefully designed assignments can help students to build research skills and confidence. We highly recommend John Bean's Engaging Ideas: The Professor's Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom, specifically chapter 10, "Designing and Sequencing Assignments to Teach Undergraduate Research," as a resource for thinking about assignment design.

Bean identifies seven "information literacy skills needed to do undergraduate research," which include understanding a) how to find sources and b) why to find sources, and offers a number of ideas for small assignments that help students practice those skills. His approach to scaffolding goes beyond breaking a writing project into incremental stages (proposal, bibliography, draft, etc.). Rather, he calls for assignments that isolate and explicitly teach one or more of the not-always-intuitive components of research-based writing. Smaller, sequenced assignments have the potential to reduce cognitive load and anxiety, compared with a prompt to "write a research paper" that assumes a high degree of familiarity with a complex process. These proposed assignments also align with a more transparent approach that helps all students to work to their potential.

Sample Syllabus Paragraphs

Please consider including one or both of the following paragraphs on your syllabus to make all students in your class aware of recognition  and support available for their work at the library.

Library Research Award

Students in Bibliographic Research in Writing courses are eligible to apply for the James J. Kopp Library Research Award, which recognizes excellence and development in student research across the curriculum. Two winners are chosen every year, each receiving $200. To apply, students submit their final research project as well as a short essay (no more than 1000 words) reflecting on their process and growth as researchers. Applications will be accepted near the end of the semester; complete guidelines may be found at

Watzek Library and support for research

Watzek Library is an essential resource for the work you will do in this class, and the librarian for our subject, X, can help you throughout your research process. You can arrange a one-on-one appointment with X through [link to the librarian's appointment calendar] and/or by email [address]. You may also want to explore the resources and tools on the subject guide for our department [link to research guide].

Awards for Students and Faculty