Confused by your assignment? Here are tips for understanding what your instructor is asking you to do. 

Make sure to read your assignment carefully. Here are components to look for in your instructor’s assignment instructions:

  • Check for the due date. This will help you with time management to determine when you need to search for sources, make time to read them as well as write your paper or create your project or presentation. Some assignments have different parts due at different times. Make sure that you check all of the due dates!
  • The length of the assignment, which could be listed in pages, word count, or even minutes for a presentation. The length of the assignment will help you determine the scope of your topic;
  • Style and formatting information, such as font size, spacing, and citation style. 
  • The number of and type(s) of outside sources that your instructor requires to support your research.  Think about where you might need to look for the different types of sources. The library website home page search box  is a good place to look for scholarly books and articles. 
  • Topic guidance and suggestions. Some instructors will offer specific suggestions while others will just provide basic guidelines to help you choose a topic. Check for points and questions that the instructor wants you to address in your assignment. 

  • Highlight or underline the elements that are key to understanding your assignment. If you find that you can not describe what your assignment is about to someone else, you should re-read the assignment or ask your instructor for clarification.

  • Never hesitate to ask your instructor for clarification if you don't understand the assignment. You can also ask a librarian via email, 24/7 chat, phone, or in person at the Research Help Desk.