University of Rhode Island Webpage LIB 120 Introduction to Information Literacy
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The Course   The Paper Trail
Why Information Literacy?

About the Course


General Syllabus

Course Modules

The Paper Trail

Survival Tools

General Education Integrated Skills

Academic Integrity




The Paper Trail is an annotated portfolio, or "map," of the research process used for a research paper or project.  The Paper Trail will demonstrate more than anything else mastery of the material covered in the course.  The Paper Trail project should allow the instructor to follow a student's research path for a pre-selected research question.  It is a map to trace all of the research -- the processes that worked and those that didn't work.  It is highly recommended that students use a topic from a course they are currently taking.  The topic idea must be submitted to the instructor for approval.

Specific requirements for the Paper Trail will be provided by each instructor, and may vary. 

This project requires an average of five Annotated Bibliographies using a wide variety of source materials to answer the research question. Materials include books, periodicals of all types, web sites as well as expert and statistical information. The bibliographies are researched, written and revised over the course of the semester with the portfolio due at the end of the semester. A second annotated bibliography of "Sources Not Used" is also required. This "not used" bibliography is meant to provide an opportunity to recognize and illustrate the value vs. lack of value that individual information sources can have to a particular research question.

For each annotated bibliography and for several of the preparatory research assignments leading to the bibliographies, Research Journal entries will document the research process and experience for this project.  These are short, reflective writing assignments to give repeated practice in developing ideas and perspectives about the research process as it develops from idea to formal presentation.


This page was last updated on August 2, 2004.  For any questions about this page, please contact Mary MacDonald, Information Literacy Librarian.