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Assessment (HC)

Anthropology Department

                                              Anthropology Department Four-Year Library-Skills Rubric -Draft                                       


Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4


Defining Research Questions

Students develop a research question that is of interest to them and meet with the subject librarian to work out terminology, search strategies, and database choices.

Students work with class discussion, readings, and personal knowledge to create compelling research questions that engage with significant issues.

While incorporating anthropological analysis and methodologies, students also consider what other disciplines and approaches may bring to the questions they are seeking to answer.

Students think through complex sets of primary materials and secondary sources to pose a research question for their theses.  As they gather more evidence and analysis, they rethink their question and the connections they have drawn, making changes that strengthen their argument.

Situating Research Questions within Anthropological and Scholarly Inquiry

Students understand the difference between scholarly publications and those intended for a general audience, seeing the importance of accessing and using relevant and up-to-date scholarly work.

Students use both general and subject-specific databases to find recent research.  They choose journal articles based on topic and approach.  They understand what  anthropological methodologies bring to scholarly inquiries.

Students recognize that the field of anthropology involves individuals, institutions and organizations exchanging ideas online and in print.  They understand that research involves tracing these lines of dialog and determining what new ideas or evidence to develop.

Students are skilled in searching and identifying relevant scholarship, including books, journal articles, and papers, using databases, bibliographic notes, and citation searches.  They evaluate material critically, distinguishing those works that are likely to have a greater credibility.

Conducting Research with Primary Source Materials (Ethnographic, Archival, and Material)

Students understand the difference between primary and secondary materials and realize the value of using the different kinds of primary materials.

Students use primary materials and understand ethnography as a methodology and a genre of writing. They can navigate databases, library catalogs, and websites that give access to primary materials.   They use recent scholarship to better understand the issues involved in particular source materials.

Students are adept at using both analog and digital sources which give greater range and depth to the research done in primary materials.  They bring an informed understanding of source materials to their own fieldwork.

Students create and find relevant primary source materials for their seminar papers and theses.  They contextualize their understanding of a source by bringing in anthropological methodologies and scholarship, theoretical and critical ideas, and other primary source materials.

Understanding and Applying Theory

Students understand that social practices and cultural categories are subject to different interpretations and methodologies.  They see the importance of thinking critically and self-reflectively in order to develop a sound argument.

 Students develop a familiarity with a range of anthropological analyses and disciplinary approaches.  They recognize key figures in the field and can locate more information in reference works and secondary literature. 

Students systematize their anthropological knowledge by strategic use of such disciplinary sources as literature reviews, book reviews, and studies of anthropology history and theory.

Students bring an anthropological approach to seminar papers and theses, presenting their argument within a larger context of the related scholarship.  They give a cogent account of the issues involved and explain why their new interpretation is significant.

 Anthropological Reference Literature

Students realize the difference between authoritative reference works produced under editorial review and those done for a general audience by authors generally without subject expertise.

Students use subject encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other summary accounts to find background, identify interpretive themes, connect to theorists’ ideas, and see recommended sources for further reading.

Students deepen their knowledge through topic-specific reference guides including handbooks and companions that emphasize critical evaluations of major issues in the field.

Students bring the full range of reference works to bear on projects, making connections and sharpening their arguments.  When they do research in a new subject area, they are able to identify relevant resources for reference.

Responsible Use of Sources

Students understand that they must cite others’ work whether quoting directly or acknowledging an author’s ideas within their own statements.  Awareness about plagiarism and copyright is connected to an understanding of how citations function in scholarship.

 Students take on more involved research projects and learn to use citation-management programs, so that they can save, organize, and put to use the research they have gathered.


Students do research that connects them to scholars and casts them in a practitioner’s role.  The attention which the American Anthropological Association gives to issues involving ethical practices in research and writing conveys to students the importance involved.  

Students have developed a critical awareness of the ways in which anthropological scholarship is created, distributed, and used.  This knowledge informs the production of their own work in terms of handling sources, considering confidentiality, understanding fair use, and providing access to their finished projects.