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Assessment (HC)

Spanish Department

                        Spanish Department Four-Year Library-Skills Rubric                          


Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4  

Critical Interrogation of Sources

Students begin to understand the basic differences between biased and unbiased, peer-reviewed and unmediated sources and can distinguish among them in familiar search environments (e.g., Google). Furthermore, they are introduced to potentially new search environments (catalogs, research databases, and additional search engines), making critical distinctions among them and beginning to understand which ones are appropriate for different scholarly and creative projects.

Students improve their ability to identify sources of high-quality research material and can make critical distinctions among sources through an analysis of tone, purpose, context, audience, timeliness, and other criteria. Students begin to understand the scope and limitations of specific databases, indices, and catalogs and use this knowledge to plan research accordingly.

Students frequently identify excellent resources for a given project and recognize the effect of format and context (in both digital and analog environments) on the creation, dissemination, reception, and interpretation of sources. They understand how their search terms and strategies shape search results, and recognize research as an evolving, iterative, and potentially subjective process.

Students possess a critical understanding of resources, search environments, and search strategies and can employ that knowledge effectively and efficiently in the service of extended research projects. Moreover, they understand how their use of sources shapes and is conditioned by their own practical and methodological approaches to research.

Responsible Use of Sources

Students understand the mechanics of citation and the basic principles of copyright and plagiarism, furthering their understanding of how the three are connected in scholarly practice.

Students cite and reuse research material appropriately and accurately. They employ citation managers to organize, store, and share references.

Students understand the social nature of research and their role within a greater community of researchers.

Students effectively, responsibly, and fairly participate as junior scholars in both a local and global academic community. Their critical awareness of the ways in which scholarship is created, disseminated, and used informs the production of their own scholarship in terms of handling sources, understanding fair use, and providing access to their finished products.

Library Services

Students know the location of the Research Help Desk and work with their liaison from the “Personal Librarian” program to identify the appropriate staff members for library-oriented needs. They learn how to use the Library’s online services—the website and catalog—to request both on- and off-site material.

Students can identify the appropriate subject librarian(s) for various disciplines and seek their assistance with subject-specific research.

Students can identify the subject librarian for Spanish and can use the Spanish research guide to locate and gain access to a range of relevant materials.

Students use the Library’s senior thesis archive to find models of high-quality senior theses in Spanish. They work with the Spanish subject librarian to develop strategies for finding and integrating information crucial to their theses, and they consult with the librarian about revising their arguments in response to, and in dialogue with, the material that they discover.

Language Competency

Students identify and use reference materials, style guides, and hispanophone primary sources in various formats (e.g., audio-visual and print) to improve their Spanish competency.

Students continue to augment and support their study of Spanish with primary sources and reference materials.

Students understand how to search for information in both English and Spanish and continue to develop their language competency with primary and reference materials.

Students demonstrate a strong ability to express complex ideas and argue convincingly in Spanish.


Research Questions

Students use library resources to find and evaluate models of high-quality research questions in various disciplines and begin to generate critical questions from a limited number of sources.


Students generate researchable, critical questions from an expanding corpus of primary and secondary research material and begin to understand the approaches that different disciplines take in generating research questions. 

Students further hone their ability to generate researchable, critical questions from an expanding corpus of primary and secondary material, including research in archives and other libraries.

Students independently generate critical research questions from the full range of primary and secondary resources at their disposal.  As they gather more primary materials and analysis, they rethink their question(s) and conclusions and revise accordingly.


Students use handbooks, introductions, and other reference / audio-visual material to begin to understand the context of research topics.

Students explore topics in greater depth by incorporating primary sources into their research and drawing connections between that material and summary accounts.

Students continue to explore topics through primary, secondary, and reference material. As they prepare for potential study abroad, they seek the help of subject librarians in understanding research in different cultures.

Students ably place chosen topics in larger contexts (social, cultural, political, aesthetic, and so on).

Primary Sources

Students differentiate between primary and secondary sources and analyze primary sources in the context of their creation.

Students effectively use library catalogs and databases to identify and locate primary sources. They begin to understand the history of oral and textual transmission and can identify differences among editions, facsimiles, reprints, and translations.   

Students effectively use both analog and digital sources and can recognize the advantages and limitations of each.  They understand the protocols of specialcollections libraries and archives in the U.S. and other countries to which they may travel.

Students identify relevant primary sources and understand their context, effectively incorporating them into their research projects. 

Secondary Sources

Students distinguish between peer-reviewed and unmediated sources and can effectively locate relevant, up-to-date scholarship.

Students formulate increasingly sophisticated search strategies and revise searches based on results and new knowledge.  They can identify various forms of scholarly communication (e.g., monographs, journal articles, blogs) and assess the relative value of each.

Students are adept at using subject-specific databases and indices on line and in print and can locate and use an expanding range of resources not limited to the Open Web or local library material

Students identify the most relevant secondary sources and effectively incorporate them into their research projects.


Students use library resources to identify and gain a basic understanding of aesthetic and cultural theory.

Students investigate various theoretical traditions and their relationships to each other and can competently employ them in the service of a research question.

Students continue to use library resources to explore relevant theoretical traditions in greater depth and to understand the historical development of aesthetic and cultural theory.

Students identify relevant and generative theoretical frameworks, understand the tradition from which they derive, and incorporate them in the service of a critical question.

Reference Material /


Students locate high-quality reference works and distinguish between those produced under editorial review by subject experts and those produced for a general audience. 

Students use subject encyclopedias, biographical dictionaries, and other summary accounts to find background information, identify interpretive themes, and discover recommended sources for further reading.

Students deepen their knowledge through topicspecific reference guides 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, and are able to identify relevant reference material when embarking on research in a new subject area.