Information Literacy Exercises & Online Learning Tools

To arrange an instruction session or to consult with a librarian about assignments, you can either:

Library Tutorials

The Libraries have developed interactive Library Tutorials that provide an engaging way to incorporate a blended learning approach into classes. These tutorials can be assigned before class, enhancing and freeing up time for more in-class interaction. They can readily be embedded in Moodle for convenience.  

Information Literacy Exercises

Developing Research Questions Colgate students self-report having difficulty getting started with research assignments and defining topics. This assignment is intended to assist students to develop appropriate questions that can be investigated through engagements with scholarly literature.  This assignment should be used as one step in a sequenced set of assignments culminating in an academic paper, or another kind of project.

Focus Essay

Students conduct the preliminary research for a paper and write down the steps taken to decide on their thesis or research question. The focus essay should include the search terms that were used, the databases searched, the kind of resources found, how the student modified the search, and an evaluation of their results. The final product should also include an annotated bibliography of useful resources and a clearly stated thesis or research question.

Research Log

Each student keeps a journal or log of their research process, including search terms, databases used, sources, and an evaluation of which results can be useful to their paper. (The research log can be used with the focus essay or independently.)

Annotated Bibliography

Students select sources for a paper. Using the proper citation style, they compose a bibliography that includes a brief description of the information in each source and an evaluation of the usefulness to their paper.

Reverse Engineering an Article

The goal of this exercise is for students to work backwards from an article in order to reconstruct the research process that produced the article. The instructor can either assign an article or ask students to locate one on their own. Students could be asked to produce a written work responding to these questions, or they could simply be asked to come to class prepared to answer them in a discussion.


Techniques students can use to locate ethnographies.