This guide by librarians at Gustavus Adolphus College Library is a great resource about first-year students, especially these boxes:
Project Information Literacy has done extensive research on college students' research skills and they produced the graphic below.
One that may be of particular interest to you is How Freshmen Conduct Course Research Once they Enter College.
PIL also interviewed Barbara Fister, a Professor and Librarian who has been outspoken "about the shortcomings of research paper assignments and how research, reading, and student learning could and needs to be re-imagined." Worth reading!