Blog Assignment and Rubric

Blog Assignment
Due every Monday before class at 3pm beginning Monday, January 29
20% of overall grade

  • To identify a wide variety of relevant, timely, and authoritative information sources related to a particular field.
  • To become more aware of the research process through reflection

Every week, you will find particular kinds of information related to your research question. You will list at least three (3) sources for each heading, and you will include about three paragraphs that describe

  • exactly how you found these sources
  • why you think they are the most relevant, timely, and authoritative sources available, and
  • your reflection on the research process went this week: What was hard? What was easy? How sure are you that these are the best sources? What other strategies could you use?

Weekly Assignments (rough preview)

  1. List important Library of Congress Classifications for your topic. Do they match your academic discipline (major)? Is your topic difficult to categorize?
  2. List important Library of Congress subject headings for your topic and the titles of any potentially useful reference works.
  3. List important books (scholarly monographs or collections of essays) for your topic.
  4. List the names of any potentially useful databases for finding information on your topic and give full information about scope, size, frequency of update, and special interface features.
  5. List potentially important keywords and phrases for finding information about your topic in proprietary scholarly databases. Be sure to include synonyms, broader terms, and narrower terms.
  6. Who is doing the work on your topic? List specific examples of people, university departments, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, etc.
  7. List the names of some scholarly journals that are particularly important for your research topic.
  8. List scholarly articles important for your topic.
  9. What information on your topic is available on the free web? Please emphasize reasoned assessment of the quality of this information.
  10. What other specialized resources are important for your topic? Examples might be government documents, special collections, conference proceedings, pre-print archives.
Blog Assignment Grading Rubric


A+, A, A-

B+, B, B-

C+, C, C-


Sources are properly and fully cited. Sources are of the highest quality possible in terms of authority, objectivity, verifiability, currency, and relevance.

Some sources do not have full citation information. Some sources are not of high quality.

Many sources have incomplete or incorrect citation information. Many sources are of poor quality.


Accounts of how the sources were found name specific research tools (Web of Science), specific search strings (“obesity in children“), and other specific location information, including information about revised strategies and rejected sources. The student has evaluated sources thoroughly (“I googled the organization that published this study and discovered that it is funded by the tobacco industry, so I chose the study funded by the NIH instead”). Reflection on the student’s research process is detailed and thoughtful.

Some accounts of how the sources were found are rather vague: examples of search strings and names of search tools are sometimes omitted. Information about revised strategies and rejected sources is sometimes missing. Reflection on the student’s research process is sometimes cursory.

Most contributions provide only vague, brief accounts of the student’s research and evaluation process.


All ten contributions are present, and all were submitted on time. Each week’s contribution contains at least 3 sources and tells a) how the student found the sources; b) why the student judged them to be good sources; and c) how the student’s research process is going.

Some contributions were submitted late without excuse. Some contributions contain fewer than 3 sources (exceptions will be made if good reasons are given). Some contributions do not fulfill all three parts of the writing portion of the assignment.

Several contributions were at least a day late without excuse. One or more contributions are missing. Several contributions are substantially incomplete.


The writing for this assignment will not be graded; writing can be casual and colloquial and can contain spelling, grammar, punctuation, and style errors. Abbreviations and emoticons are fine, and contributions can be made to the blog that do not relate to the main subject. However, the writing does need to be civil (no obscenity, profanity, insults, or excessively personal comments). Remember that this writing is public: it can be read by anyone in the world with access to the web.

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