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Library Research Award for Undergraduates

Scoring Rubric


EKU Libraries Research Award for Undergraduates – Scoring Rubric

The key part of the application is the Description and Explanation of Research Process, where applicants describe, in specific detail, their search process and strategies, rather than the project itself.  While the research project is certainly important, it is crucial to remember that library research* is the primary focus of the EKU Libraries Research Award for Undergraduates, and represents the plurality of the scoring. Further, this Scoring Rubric should serve as a guide, rather than as checklist, for each component of the submission packet, as all submissions will be scored holistically—that is, on the basis of the overall impression created by all the elements.



Description &  Explanation of Research Process  

(20 pts)


 Accomplished                     (14-20 pts)


 Competent                     (7-13 pts)


 Developing                       (1-6 pts)

Search process and strategies explicitly described in detail; for example: 

• Identifying specific types of information needed

• Finding aids**, tools, and/or services appropriate and/or unique to the need

• Efforts made to obtain needed but not locally (e.g. EKU) available information

• Use of flexible and creative search terms and strategies

• Adjustments in response to relative success/failure of prior searches

• Investigative techniques unique to a discipline

• Describes topic/discipline-appropriate criteria used for the evaluation & selection of source materials

• Context of source creation and its potential impact on resulting information

• Acknowledgement of pertinent knowledge/information/viewpoints encountered in the research process*** even if they challenge the student’s value system or counters their thesis arguments.

Search process and strategies generally described, with some detail; for example:

• Describes a physical route but not a conceptual one

• Identifies standard finding aids** tools, and/or services, but omits other appropriate resources

• Relevant sources not locally available are identified, but not acquired. Alternative sources used without justification

• Uses only keyword searches and other simple search strategies

• No discussion of responses to success or failure

• Investigative methods ignore those unique to the discipline

Use and description of criteria for evaluation of sources is incomplete, unclear, or inconsistent

• Expresses limited understanding of context of and potential impact on information

• Limited discussion of varying viewpoints or interpretations found in sources.


Search process and strategies incomplete or very general, with little detail; for example:

• Does not describe transferable or reproducible strategies

• Does not display evidence of appropriate search strategies and services

• Does not identify appropriate finding aids** tools, and/or services given context. Limits search to general tools (e.g., Academic Search Complete, Google, etc).

• No discussion of seeking sources beyond locally available materials.

• Has no clear methodology for gathering discipline-specific information

• Does not clearly identify or misinterprets criteria for evaluating information sources

• No discussion of context as an influence on the creation of information or its utility.

• No discussion of differing viewpoints in interpretation or performance/application practices

• Utilizes only sources that are consistent with original thesis, assertions, or point of view. No discussion of conflicting information.


(15 pts)


Accomplished                     (11-15 pts)


Competent                     (6-10 pts)


Developing                   (1-5 pts)

Uses a wide range of resource types appropriate to the discipline and to the project (e.g. primary & secondary sources, scholarly & popular literature, data, books, articles, etc.). 

Consistently provides accurate and complete citations in format/style appropriate to the discipline.

Cites different types of resources appropriate to the project, but does not evidence great depth or breadth in sources. 

Sources cited in standard format, but contain errors or some missing elements.

Scope of source types is limited to conventional formats that are not necessarily the most appropriate for the discipline or project. Uses basic general knowledge resources (e.g. websites, newspaper articles), rather than subject specific sources. 

Sources not cited in a standard or consistent way. Numerous errors and/or omissions of citation elements.


(10 pts)


Accomplished                     (8-10 pts)


Competent                   (4-7 pts)


Developing                   (1-3 pts)

Clearly communicates, organizes and synthesizes information from sources in support of the argument or thesis and/or in a manner that supports project purposes.

Quotations and acquired ideas are well selected and integrated conceptually & rhetorically with applicant’s argument.

Formulates questions relating to the purpose, development, and presentation of a musical, theatrical or choreographed performance, or of a design/build project.

Selects appropriate content to support project purposes or thesis, but content is poorly organized and some claims or assertions lack references.

Occasional use of inappropriate quotes or quotes poorly integrated into argument.

Formulates questions relating to the purpose of the presentation of a musical, theatrical or choreographed performance, or of a design/build project, but does not follow through with questions addressing the development and presentation.

Information from sources is poorly organized and integrated, or insufficient to support project or thesis. This may include unsupported claims or assertions, or otherwise uses information inappropriately.

Poor selection of quotes (e.g., fails to address point in question).

Does not identify questions relating to the purpose, development, or presentation of a musical, theatrical or choreographed performance, or of a design/build project.

Supporting Letter

(5 pts)


Accomplished                   (4-5 pts)


Competent                 (3 pts)


Developing                   (1-2 pts)

Explains how the research or creative project addresses significant questions within the discipline.

Clearly identifies and evaluates disciplinary dimensions of the student’s work, such as:

•Argumentation style/ approach

•Investigative methods

•Sources selected & how utilized.

If appropriate, indicates that questions formulated relate to the purpose, development, and presentation of a musical, theatrical or choreographed performance, or of a design/build project.

Clearly explains relevance of project to the assignment.

Indicates that the student’s argument takes familiar path with some originality.

Identifies a connection between project & assignment but with some ambiguities or reservations.

Provides limited information about appropriateness of argumentation, methods, and/or sources utilized.

Indicates that questions formulated relate to the purpose of a performance, or of a design/build project but do not follow through with questions addressing development & presentation.



Points to little or no originality in topic or approach.

Does not identify extent to which project responds to assignment.

Does not explain disciplinary dimensions of student’s work or assess the quality of sources utilized.

Does not discuss whether questions formulated address purpose, development and/or presentation of a performance or a design/build project.





*Library research: i.e., Information, or information-based research methodologies, the product of which may be called a literature review in some disciplines. Distinguished from lab, field, survey, or other research methodologies employed for creating new information.

**Finding aid: Any information resource intended to help a reader find further resources on a topic, by an individual, etc. (e.g., encyclopedias, research databases, bibliographies, handbooks).

***Research strategy or research process: Any deliberate, structured attempt to develop a plan for a research project or to search finding aids. This may include identifying and accessing background or reference sources, identifying appropriate databases for specific purposes, consulting librarians, instructors, or other experts to gather leads for further discovery, developing a list of terms and concepts related to the line of inquiry, etc.

Adapted with permission from Loyola Marymount University Libraries.

*Definitions and selected indicators adapted from the UNLV University Libraries Lance & Elena Calvert Undergraduate Research Award Scoring Rubric and UW Library Research Award for Undergraduates: Evaluation Rubric.
ver.: 12/04/2019

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