Guidelines for Grading Research Reports
Format: Papers should be 5-10 pp. double-spaced (10 MAX for the text, including title page &
references) and follow APA format. Tables and figures not included in the page maximum.
Note: the research reports are worth 20 class points total
To simplify things for the grader, the essay will be graded on a 40 point scale (with up to 5 bonus
points) and this will be divided in half for your class points.
Division of points:
Introduction & hypotheses: 10 points
Method and results, including any tables & graphs: 10 points
Discussion: 10 points
Quality of writing & format (APA style): 10
Difficulty points: Can add up to 5 points for papers that tackle multiple hypotheses or have
difficult, complex analyses.
Intro & hypotheses. Study should be introduced clearly, with relevant references to the group literature. Hypothesis(es) should be supported with clear reasoning and be connected to the literature. It should be absolutely clear what the hypothesis or hypotheses are.
Excellent, insightful, logic flawless, hypothesis(es) clear: 9-10
Solid job with nothing missing, logical, makes sense: 8.
Fulfills requirements but also wanders about, has logical problems, or other mixture of strengths & weaknesses: 7
Hypotheses missing, or not connected to literature, or intro doesn't make sense, or some other major flaw: 6
Incoherent: 5 and below
Methods & results, including tables & graphs. Method section should explain how data were collected. It should follow standard APA format, giving number of participants and describing procedures and how relevant variables were measured. If new indices were constructed from the raw data (such as a measure of diversity, or a group polarization score), this should be explained. Results should report on analyses run to test the hypotheses, identifying the tests and the results of those tests. It should be clear what the analyses were, what variables were tested and how, and how the tests connect to the hypothesis or hypotheses stated in the introduction. Tables or graphs should be relevant and consistent with verbal report of results (Note: Tables and graphs are not required, but often are helpful in clarifying the pattern of results).
Excellent--methods and results crystal clear: 9-10
Solid job with nothing missing, reasonably clear what was done and how: 8.
Key pieces are there, but hard to follow or confusing: 7
Analyses don't make any sense, or you can't tell what the authors did, or analyses don't make
sense given the hypotheses, or methods incomplete or incoherent, or some other major flaw: 6
Methods section missing, or no results reported: 5 and below
Discussion: Author should note whether the results support the hypotheses, and then discuss the implications of the findings for the topic being investigated. If the results were in a different direction than hypothesized, author should give possible reasons for this outcome. Limitations of the data and the study should be noted, and possible improvements discussed.
Excellent: insightful, makes you think, impresses you with writer's grasp of material and understanding of the topic: 9-10
Solid job with nothing missing, discussion is logical, suggestions for improvement sensible: 8.
All elements present, but discussion has logical problems or is vague, implications seem odd, improvements are implausible, or other mixture of strengths & weaknesses: 7
Author forgot some part of assignment, or discussion doesn't connect to the study, or is incoherent, or other serious flaws: 6
Major elements missing, such as no discussion of limitations and improvements, results not
discussed or some other glaring omission: 5 and below
Quality of writing & format (APA style): Writing should be clear and correct, with a minimum of typos and grammatical flaws. All sentences should be complete. Paragraphs should each have a clear focus, and sentences should adhere to that focus. Paper should follow APA style, including title page, page numbers, section headings, citations (author, date), and reference list.
Writing is close to error-free, words are chosen carefully, meaning is always clear, and sentences
flow. Follows APA style. A pleasure to read: 9-10
Good job, flaws not too numerous. Follows APA style with few exceptions. Writing problems
do not impede understanding: 8
Can figure out what writer means, despite numerous errors and awkward wording, or writing fine but paper doesn't follow APA style, or other mixture of strengths and weaknesses: 7
Writing is sufficiently problematic that writer's meaning is hard to follow; thoughts muddled and organization confusing, pervasive errors in format and writing: 6
Difficulty points: Can add up to 5 points for papers that tackle multiple hypotheses or have difficult, complex analyses.
NOTE: Extra points for difficulty should be considered for papers that are ambitious and sophisticated. Be sure to consider these bonus points when problems in clarity or execution are in part due to the complexity or number of hypotheses, or the subtlety of what author is attempting. Bonus points can also be added on top of already excellent scores (scores above 40 are fine when deserved).
NEW DEADLINE: Paper due in class on Monday. Late papers will automatically lose 3 points
out of 20. Tuesday 4 PM is the latest papers will be accepted, unless some prior arrangement has
been approved in advance by Holly.
** Include prior drafts and descriptions with comments from Holly and other readers ***