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ACRL Framework Resources

Ideas for incorporating the ACRL Framework into your instruction

Project CORA

CORA (Community of Online Research Assignments) is a repository of open access research assignments for faculty and librarians.

From their website:

It is intended to be a collaborative space for adapting and experimenting with research assignments and sharing the success or lessons learned so that others may benefit. The database will contain multiple, reliable and reproducible research assignments that will not live as isolated entities, but are enhanced by user feedback in order to build a rich corpus of best practices.


What assignments are appropriate for sharing in CORA? A research assignment is anything that requires students to engage with information resources in a critical or reflective way. This most often includes finding, retrieving, analyzing and evaluating, using and integrating, or organizing the information in order to produce new knowledge.

Assignment Ideas from the Framework of Information Literacy

Assignment ideas from the Framework of Information Literacy ACRL

Authority is Contextual and Constructed

  • Provide students with two different information types (with two different goals) on the same topic by the same unnamed authoritative creator/author (for example, scholarly article and blog post). Use as discussion starter with students about context in relationship to authority. Reveal authorship later in discussion.
  • Ask students in professional or career-focused programs to consider who has authority within their areas of study and the origins of that authority.
  • Ask students to find several scholarly sources on the same topic that take very different stands. How was it that the authors came to different conclusions? Does it have to do with authority?
  • Ask students to brainstorm situations when traditional peer review might not accomplish its purpose.
  • Have students look at a blog, a video on YouTube, a collection of tweets, or some other type of social media regarding a contemporary event (e.g. demonstrations at Tahrir Square during the "Arab Spring" events). Ask them to describe how they would analyze and evaluate the authority the author(s) of the information. Are there ways to determine whether the individual was an actual witness or participant in the events? Are there ways to identify whether the individual or group that developed a collection of information has a particular political bias? Can they determine whether the author(s) has a particular status within the group he/she represents or is the individual reporting as an "average citizen"?
  • Ask students to create a citation "web" using a citation analysis database, and conduct a content analysis of the linked authors by affiliation (workplace, academic preparation, geography, subject expertise). Do authors cite each other? Are there some authors who are outliers in the web? How do such connections impact information generation?

information Creation as a Process

  • Assign students to identify several different applicable information sources that arise from different creation processes, and to communicate the unique values of each. (in collaboration with instructor and course assignment).
  • Students will identify the format of the sources they find for a given research project and articulate why the chosen formats are appropriate for the information need.
  • Students will find sources about the same topic in two divergent formats, e.g. newspaper movie review and literary journal movie review or scholarly article and a researcher’s blog. Students will compare and contrast the type of information found in each format, as well as articulate the processes underlying the creation of each format.
  • Ask students to transform information they have created in one format to another format, and to write a reflection on what they needed to consider as they went through the process.

Information has Value

  • Time is money. Ask students to blog for a week about their life of information, noting their information needs and the associated costs of getting that information. What are the associated costs if they cannot find the information, and what are the cost benefits of getting the information? For example, if a student cannot find a FAFSA form in time, or how to complete it, or the details to provide within the form, they lose out on scholarships.
  • Ask students to find several images that would enhance the project or paper on which they are working. Then ask them to determine which can be used without asking permission. What would they need to do to use this material?
  • Ask students in professional or career-focused programs to consider what individuals or organizations make money distributing information relating to that profession or career. Have students discuss the usefulness and potential risks behind this information.
  • Ask students to determine what information they can find about themselves or a relative online, and to assess whether steps should be taken to control this personal information.

Research as Inquiry

  • Students in a first year course reflect upon the steps they went through when researching a major purchase or event in their lives (buying a car, selecting a college, etc.). They identify the steps involved in the research behind such a decision, and confront the importance of such a employing a similar strategy in the academic setting.
  • A researcher/guest speaker attends the class and describes a research project from conception to conclusion. Students attempt to diagram the steps reflected in the description, and then work with the speaker to develop a robust conception of the process (recognizing that the process varies from project to project and researcher to researcher). Students then journal about how their research process relates to that of the researcher, and what changes they might make in order to attempt more authentic, knowledge-generating research experiences.
  • Assign students to keep research logs in which they note changes in particular research directions as they identify resources, read, and incorporate new learning.
  • Ask students in professional or career-focused programs to evaluate the role of evidence-based that may move toward changing practice.

Scholarship is a Conversation

  • Give students in professional or career-focused programs assignments that examine how practice and/or procedures evolve over time. Ask them to consider how the profession shares information.
  • Give students a two-part assignment: one having them trace the development of scholarship on a particular topic using the traditional “information cycle” model with the “invisible college” and print publication outlets; then have them expand/refine that model by tracing changes based on social media forums or online communities.
  • Assign an entire class to conduct an investigation of a particular topic from its treatment in the popular media, and then trace its origin in conversations among scholars and researchers.
  • Have students select a seminal work on a topic, and then identify sources that preceded and continued the conversation, analyzing the impact of the seminal work on the field. 
  • Select a topic on which students have some knowledge or experience. Identify a venue (blog, discussion forum, other social media site) in which a scholarly  conversation is taking place. Ask students to:
    • Identify key players and their perspectives.
    • Compare a related scholarly article by one of the players to the online conversation.
    • Consider how to involve themselves in the conversation.

Searching is Strategic

  • Ask students to brainstorm possible sources that might have relevant information. What tools will they need to locate those resources?
  • Students must identify one or two important databases for the project they are working on and analyze why they consider them to be an effective resource for their research.
  • Ask students to choose a topic, develop key search terms, and use two different search engines to locate information on their topic. Have them compare the results  in terms of quantity, types of sources (e.g., government, educational, scholarly, and commercial), order/sequence of results, and relevance. Pair students who used the same search engine with different topics to compare results.
  • Ask students to write an I-Search paper, whereby they journal their searching processes, including key terms, tools used, and resources/results at each step. They should note how they evaluated their resources, and what information was extracted. Their journal should also reflect their feelings: success, concern, frustration, pride, etc. Pair up students, and ask them to read and comment on each other's journal, and then draw up conclusions and recommendations for their peers.


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