Understanding your assignment requirements

Read your assignment carefully and look for these key components:

  • 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, and 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!
  • Check 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.
  • Review style and formatting information, such as font size, spacing, and citation style. See the library Quick How-Tos for citing sources.
  • Note 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
  • Pay attention to topic guidance and suggestions. Some instructors will offer specific suggestions while others will 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 cannot describe what your assignment is about to someone else, you should re-read the assignment or ask your professor for clarification.