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Honors Thesis Evaluation Rubric

This rubric is intended to provide guidelines for thesis committee members and students.

Each project should be considered individually in the context of its discipline and the thesis chair's discretion.

Secondary Research

A-B Paper

The paper is written from the perspective of a well-informed writer. Writer has likely read at least 10-15 articles (and/or books) on the subject and has integrated at least 10 peer-reviewed sources into the paper.

C Paper

The writer exhibits basic working knowledge of the subject matter. Writer has likely read 7-10 articles (and/or books) on the subject and has integrated at least 7 peer-reviewed sources into the paper.

D-F Paper

Writer’s understanding of the subject is lacking because of a failure to read and/or comprehend significant scholarly secondary material on the subject.

Primary Research

A-B Paper

Methodology is clearly and effectively designed, executed, and represented in the paper, appropriately addressing the hypothesis/thesis.

C Paper

The writer makes an effort to address the hypothesis/thesis through adept design and execution of the methodology, taking into account the advice of the chair. However, the research process (or its representation in the paper) falls short.

D-F Paper

The design, execution, and/or representation of the methodology fall notably short.

Clear and Effectively-Crafted Hypothesis/Thesis (with appropriate scope)

A-B Paper

The paper forwards a valuable, appropriately narrowed, and well-articulated research hypothesis/thesis.

C Paper

The paper forwards a hypothesis/thesis feasible for research, though it may not be clearly articulated and may not lead toward original or valuable findings.

D-F Paper

The paper forwards an inappropriate hypothesis/thesis, or no clear hypothesis/thesis at all.

Integration of Research

A-B Paper

The paper effectively integrates well-chosen secondary sources and appropriate primary research to define, test, and/or support the project’s findings in light of the hypothesis/thesis.

C Paper

The paper integrates generally pertinent secondary sources and primary research in an effort to define, test, and/or support the project’s findings in light of the hypothesis/thesis, though representation of this research may fall short of achieving the project’s purpose.

D-F Paper

The paper fails substantially to integrate pertinent secondary and primary research to define, test, and/or support the project’s hypothesis/thesis.

Analysis

A-B Paper

The paper not only presents primary research findings, but breaks them down and examines them to determine patterns, anomalies, function, structure, and/or cause and effect. Additionally, the paper leads the reader effectively through the process used to understand the issue and test the hypothesis/thesis.

C Paper

The paper not only presents primary research findings, but breaks them down and examines them to determine patterns, anomalies, function, structure; and/or cause and effect. The writer attempts to lead readers through the process used to understand the issue and test the hypothesis/thesis, though he/she falls short in significant ways.

D-F Paper

The paper fails to provide adept analysis of primary research findings.

Discussion

A-B Paper

The writer offers insightful interpretation of the primary research, effectively leading the reader toward the writer’s final perspective on the issue.

C Paper

The writer offers interpretation of the primary research, exhibiting an effort to lead readers toward his/her final perspective on the issue, though failing to do so with the desired impact.

D-F Paper

The writer fails to interpret the primary research clearly and/or convincingly.

Coherence (Thesis controls entire discussion.)

A-B Paper

The writer asserts a clear thesis that controls all other ideas in the paper. It provides transitions and explanations indicating the relationships among ideas as well as their link to the thesis.

C Paper

The writer asserts a relatively clear thesis that generally controls the paper. He/she attempts to tie all ideas in the paper to the thesis, though the effort may fall short of this goal.

D-F Paper

The writer fails to assert a clear thesis and/or to indicate clearly the relationships among ideas discussed in the paper.

Documentation

A-B Paper

With few mistakes, the writer indicates sources used for the study, following the guidelines of the field-appropriate documentation style.

C Paper

With some lack of control or effort, the writer documents sources used in the paper according to the field-appropriate documentation style. This effort at least indicates whose ideas are whose, and avoids plagiarism.

D-F Paper

Writer fails to document sources used in the paper according to the field-appropriate documentation style. The paper may not make clear whose ideas are whose and /or may exhibit plagiarism.

Tone and Style (including grammar, syntax and diction)

A-B Paper

The paper employs scholarly tone and style (or in the fine and performing arts, whichever tone and style is deemed appropriate for the project) to build the writer’s ethos and generate desired impact.

C Paper

The writer attempts to employ an effective tone and style for the purpose of the paper, but falls short of that goal.

D-F Paper

Tone and style undermine the goals of the paper.

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