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The Perch: Activites, Assignments & Self-Guided Learning

What's in the Perch?


The following resources were developed by University of Iowa librarians, teaching faculty, instructors, and teaching assistants and can be used for self-guided learning or incorporated as assignments into coursework. See individual resources for learning objective and activity descriptions. 

All resources are made available through a Creative Commons Share Alike License and we encourage you to revise and reuse these materials. While each resource was developed to meet learning objectives specific to departmental curricula, they could be modified to fit most courses, especially those with an analytic, research, or creative writing assignment. 

Instructors: Please contact Katie Hassman (Undergraduate Engagement Librarian) or Cathy Cranston (Director, Undergraduate Engagement) with questions about incorporating these activities in your classroom or to discuss other ways of engaging your students with The Perch.

Discovering Topic Ideas (Rhetoric)

Developing a topic doesn't happen in one-step. It is a process. Beginning the process in The Perch, you are exposed to countless perspectives and ideas, some of which you may have never thought of as a potential topic. Use the materials below if :

  • you are a student and want to complete a self-guided activity guiding you through the research topic brainstorming process.
  • you are an instructor and interested in incorporating The Perch into the early stages of the research process, when students are first developing ideas for potential assignment topics.

Refining Topic Ideas (Rhetoric)

Refining a topic is a process. As you discover topics for your research it can help to consider steps you might take to being analyzing your chosen topic. Use the following handout if you are an instructor and are looking for an in-class small group activity designed to help students:

  • begin refining research topics
  • practice breaking the analysis process into smaller questions
  • NOTE: This small group activity is designed to be completed in sequence, after students have completed the Discovering Topic Ideas in The Perch activity.