Encounter the Research Task Share

Skill 3: Evaluate your research process and product.

Conclude your inquiry-based research process by reflecting on the learning to determine whether your learning goals have been met.

Skill-builders & Tools
  • Identify your strengths.
  • Assess the inquiry process.
  • Reflect on systematic process, and assess for completeness of investigation.
  • Set goals for improvement.
  • Collaborate locally and remotely with peers, experts, and others to collect, produce, and share information.
  • Work with others to solve problems and make decisions on issues, topics, and themes being investigated.

Identify your strengths

An article from Huffingtonpost.com states, "One of Oscar Wilde's great lines read, 'I don't at all like knowing what people say of me behind my back. It makes me far too conceited.' If we only look in the mirror at our strengths, we may find ourselves falling down a slippery slope of narcissism. It would be fascinating to see whether weaknesses can be identified through a similar process: ask people to write a story about a time when you were at your worst, and create a plan for improving upon your flaws (or at least learning to manage around them)".

Strengths and flaws of our character often come through in research. In addition to personal strengths and their relation to research, you should also evaluate your effectiveness in communicating your findings through writing. See the student resources section for tools which can be used to evaluate personal strengths as well as strengths and weaknesses in written communication.

Assess the inquiry process & Reflect on Content

Your teacher will be using a rubric or a scoring tool to evaluate the content in your research, and to give you a grade. Many teachers choose to give their student's a copy of the rubric before the work is required to be submitted. You should check with your teacher to see if you can obtain a copy of the scoring rubric. Use a copy of the rubric to score your final product as if you were the teacher. After receiving the teacher completed rubric, you will be able to compare your personal scoring to your teacher's to find out where misconceptions may lie.

The chart shown below is an example of a basic rubric for high school and college level research. The rubric used by your teacher will contain these topics in some form.

Text Characteristic

Excellent  - A

Good - B

Needs Improvement - C

Poor - D/F




 Strong thesis, demonstrating insight and independent thought;
Thorough development of major ideas
(35 - 31 points)

Clearly-stated thesis, forecasting essay’s organization;
Concrete support for each major point
(30 - 26 points)

Vague or unclear thesis;
Illogical or incomplete development of ideas


(25 - 21 points)

Missing, invalid, or inappropriate thesis;
Insufficient, vague, or illogical support

(20 - 16 points)





Logical arrangement of supporting points in coherent paragraphs;
Effective transitions

(35-31 points)

Acceptable arrangement of ideas;
Satisfactory paragraph construction;
Adequate transitions
(30-26 points)

Confusing arrangement of ideas;
Unclear or immature paragraph construction;
Weak transitions
(25-21 points)

No discernible pattern of organization;
Unfocused paragraphs;
Coherence problems

(20 – 16 points)





Appropriate tone;
Clear sentences, varied in length and structure;
Forceful, jargon-free diction
(10-9 points)

Appropriate tone;
Clear sentences;
Effective diction


(8-7 points)

Inappropriate tone;
Little variety or emphasis in sentence structures;
Vague diction, imprecise word choices
(6-5 points)

Inconsistent tone;
Awkward, unclear, or immature sentences;
Bland diction, faulty word choice
(4-3 points)




Few to no errors in usage, spelling, and punctuation 

( 10-9 points)

No major errors in usage, spelling, or punctuation

 (8-7 points)

Distracting errors in usage, spelling, or punctuation
(6-5 points)

Many or major errors in usage, spelling, or punctuation
(4-3 points)



Few to no errors in citations and paper format 

( 10 - 9 points)

No major errors in citations and paper format
(8 - 7 points)

Incorrect citations or paper format

 (6 - 4 points)

Incorrect citations and paper format

 (3-0 points)

See the Student Resources section on the right for additional examples of rubrics.

Set Goals for Improvement

Now that you have identified your strengths and weaknesses, using the tools provided, and you have evaluated your own work using a rubric, it is time to set some goals for improvement. There is a strong correlation between your goals, your motivation, and the product that you create.

This Ted Talk discusses what motivates us to achieve, and the impact of that motivation on our work.


After viewing the Ted Talk, you should be aware that the achievement of your goals is dependant upon your personal investment and your perception of the worth of the task. You will use this knowledge to set meaningful goals for the future of this research experience and for your academic future.

There are many different schools of thought on goal setting. This wikihow article discusses two popular philosophies on goal setting:

  • Setting broad over arching goals - The theory here is that the achievement of your goals is dependant upon the conducting a series of steps which will advance you toward your goal.
  • Setting specific manageable goals - This theory suggests that you should set a number of smaller goals, which do not necessarily require extensive planning or a series of steps, but are obtainable in the foreseeable future.

You should also consider reviewing some guides to goal setting, which can be found in the student resources section of this guide.

Collaborate Locally & Work With Others

Peer review of your work should be conducted as you are evaluating the effectiveness of your research. Below are some peer review tools which can be used by your peers to evaluate your work before you engage in personal reflection. The Illinois State University has a peer review template which focuses on the writing component of your product.

  • After completing the peer review template, build an understanding of your learning process using the self reflection on inquiry chart.
  • After completing the chart, participate in an inquiry circle led by your teacher, where you will discuss the results of your reflection on the inquiry chart.

Final Thoughts

Remember: Your ultimate research goal is to be able to look at multiple sides of a problem and know how to investigate and analyze that problem by using a wide range of quality resources.  In short, you take charge of your own learning in these ways:

  • Define your problem or task.
  • Investigate solutions.
  • Evaluate and change your process.
  • Make decisions about the effectiveness of your work.
  • Evaluate the final outcome.

Reflection - consideration of some subject matter, idea, or purpose.

Evaluate - to determine the significance, worth, or condition of usually by careful appraisal and study.

Strengths - a strong attribute or inherent asset.

Goal - something that you are trying to do or achieve.

Collaboration - to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor

Student Resources
Personal Strengths
  • The VIA institute on character has an online tool which will evaluate your personal strengths.
  • The Florida Gulf University has a two step tool for identifying character strengths then providing examples of their application. When using this tool, relate your character strengths to your research.

Written Language

  • Mythicscribes.com has an article explaining different writing styles.


Guides to goal setting:

Teacher Resources

Intro explanation to the evaluate step for teachers.

Suggested lesson plan for this step of the process.

Do Now: After reviewing the information above, respond the the questions below in paragraph form.
  1. How well did my inquiry process go?
  2. How effective was my research plan?
  3. What new questions do I now want to answer about the topic?
  4. What did I learn about inquiry?
  5. How can I get feedback on my final product to use in my next inquiry project?
  6. How have I contributed to the learning of others?

Do Next: Apply what you have learned about the inquiry process from this experience to your next research task!