Beginning Monday, March 23, Hoover Library will be CLOSED until further notice. Virtual reference services (use the "ASK US" or "CHAT" button) will be available from 1 PM - 9 PM Sunday, 9 AM - 9 PM Monday-Thursday, and 9 AM - 4 PM Friday. Hours are subject to change at any time. Please see our Hours page for current building availability. For more information, see the McDaniel College COVID-19 Information Page Faculty: Please see our COVID-19 Library Access Students: Please see our COVID-19 Student Access page.
Improving Student Research: Evaluating Research
Rubric for Evaluating Critical Thinking and Information Literacy
Most undergraduates have only a vague idea as to what academic research is and how to do it. Students seem to believe that research consists of simply assembling a collection of publications related to their topic which they are required to rehash as a preface to their paper, not a process through which one discovers what one thinks by evaluating, synthesizing, and building upon the work of others. It helps students to have the term "research" defined for them (again and again!) in the context of a specific discipline and/or assignment (see this tutorial). Having goals for research defined and established ahead of time beyond just which style guide to use also makes the evaluation process more transparent.
The Research Evaluation Rubric below (a modified version of the one Temple University librarians use to award their Library Prize for Undergraduate Research) uses three levels of evaluation (Beginning - Competent - Excellent) to establish a set of general standards which demonstrate the critical thinking and information literacy (the ability to locate, evaluate, and use information effectively) skills that it would be ideal for all students to have acquired by graduation.