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 13, "Designing and Sequencing Assignments to Teach Undergraduate Research," as a resource for thinking about assignment design.

Bean proposes small, sequenced assignments that correspond to seven "difficult subskills of research writing," which include "how to find sources" and "why to find sources," to highlight the two with the clearest connection to library instruction. Bean's approach to scaffolding goes beyond requiring students to submit a project in incremental stages (proposal, bibliography, draft, etc.); 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. They also align with a more transparent approach that helps all students to work to their potential. A selection of Bean's proposed assignments, and a full list of the difficult subskills of research writing, may be found in the document below.

Sample Syllabus Paragraphs

James J. Kopp Library Research Award

Students in courses with a BRW designation are eligible to apply for the James J. Kopp Library Research Award, which recognizes excellence and development in student research across the curriculum. 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. Complete application 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 Y [link to research guide].

Awards for Students and Faculty