University Libraries' Undergraduate Research Award Rubric

Rubric 20-21
Criteria Beginning Developing Accomplished Exemplary
Research process, strategies, & selection of sources; prior knowledge

(How did you find your information? How did you address any bias you already had?)

  • Research question could be better introduced
  • Database, sources, and/or keywords are hard to find on the poster or through conversation
  • Prior knowledge is solely opinion (bias)
  • A search strategy is evident but not explained
  • Limited keyword development/exploration
  • Resources are largely from Google, similar in content/source type
  • Personal bias may interfere with ability to balance opinion with findings of selected sources
  • Search strategy is explained
  • Keyword development influenced sources
  • Discipline-specific sources are used (e.g., databases, journals)
  • Personal bias balanced with knowledge gained from sources
Meets all "Accomplished" criteria and may have:
  • Used bibliography from sources to find more resources
  • Recognized & used impact factor (via Web of Science or Google Scholar)
  • Browsed through key journals in field
  • Controlled vocabulary or other advanced database features used
  • Acknowledged personal biases
Source integration

(How did you use your information?)

  • Arguments are not supported with evidence
  • Research was done in isolation without considerations of all aspects of topic or related fields
  • Lack of understanding of the topic
  • Sources do not support argument or provide appropriate evidence
  • Sources are integrated to support arguments and provide evidence
  • Some connection is made between the topic as discussed in professional fields
  • Sources are fully integrated to support or contextualize arguments
  • Clear connection of how work adds to the scholarly conversation
Attributions & Citations

(Did you give credit?)

  • Poster lacks attributions or citations for sources and visual elements
  • Some sources and visual elements are given attribution, but are not consistent and some are missing entirely
  • While all sources and visual elements are given attribution, there are some inconsistencies
  • All sources and visual elements are cited in a consistent format and are complete throughout
Understanding of Information Privilege

(What privilege do you have in being able to access the information you used?)

  • Does not recognize that information has a cost
  • Does not acknowledge that access is limited based on institutional affiliation (or lack thereof)
  • Acknowledges some information is found freely on the web and some is found through library databases
  • Can only vaguely describe what that means about cost and access
  • Acknowledges that some information is found freely on the web and that some is found through library databases
  • Can describe the impact cost and access might have on their own research and that of others
  • Meets all “Accomplished” criteria and:
  • Acknowledges role as information producer
  • Thinks about how to share work with a broader community

Be prepared to respond to these, or similar, questions:


  • What led you to be interested in this topic?

How did you find your information?

  • What were your research questions and how did you decide on them?
  • How did you decide what sources to use?
  • How did you find the information you used?
  • What kind of prior knowledge/bias did you already have about this topic?

How did you use your information?

  • Did any of your sources show you new ways of looking at your topic?
  • How do you think your work adds to the research on this topic?

Did you give credit?

  • What citation style did you choose for this project, and why?
  • How did you find any images you used?

What privilege do you have in being able to access the information you used?

  • How did you access the information you used?
  • Would you have been able to get to all the information you used if you could only have used Google, and couldn't access anything through Penn State?
  • Are there groups that might be affected by your work or similar projects, but can't access it because of the cost? How do you think that affects them?