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Assessment (HC)

Linguistics Department

                        Linguistics 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 librarians for Linguistics at each campus and can use the Linguistics research guides to locate and gain access to a range of relevant material.

Students use Haverford's and Swarthmore's senior thesis archives to find models of high-quality senior theses in Linguistics.  They work with the Linguistics subject librarians to develop strategies for finding and integrating information crucial to their theses, and they consult with the librarian(s) about revising their arguments in response to, and in dialogue with, the material that they discover.
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.

Context and Audience

Students begin to understand the different uses to which primary, secondary, and tertiary (reference) resources can be put and the audiences for which various resource types are created (e.g., materials for native speakers, language learners, or linguistics scholars).


Students begin to understand how changing social, cultural, and academic norms shape the resources that they use for language study and linguistic analysis.  They begin critically to evaluate resources from different historical periods, especially when working with research topics/languages for which recent scholarship is unavailable.

Students begin to deploy resources created at various times and for various audiences/purposes in the service of a research question.  Students can also identify gaps in the existing literature and account for those gaps in answering their research questions.

Students demonstrate a critical understanding of the context and purpose of research material and can, furthermore, articulate and address how the context of their own research might shape their results.

Primary Sources Students begin to differentiate between primary and secondary sources and analyze primary sources in the context of their creation. Students effectively use library catalogs, databases, and research guides—as well as Open Web resources—to identify and locate primary sources.  They begin to understand the history of oral and textual transmission and can identify differences among editions, transcriptions, 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 special-collections libraries and archives in the U.S. and other countries to which they might travel. Students identify relevant primary sources and understand their context, effectively incorporating them into their research projects.
Secondary Sources Students begin to 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 (e.g., LLBA) 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. Student identify the most relevant secondary sources and effectively incorporate them into their research projects.
Reference Material / Handbooks Students locate high-quality reference works and can understand the difference between relevant resources types: e.g., pedagogical grammars versus reference grammars. Students use subject encyclopedias, dictionaries, grammars, listservs, and other print or online reference tools to identify and contextualize information on specific languages and linguistic features. Students improve their use of subject encyclopedias, dictionaries, grammars, listservs, and other print or online reference tools to identify and contextualize information on specific languages and linguistic features. 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.