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A Research Question Rubric: Not all research questions are created equal.

Level One: My research is about a broad topic. I can complete the assignment by using a general reference source such as an encyclopedia. I have no personal questions about the topic.
Elementary example: My research is about an animal.
Secondary example: My research is about the economy of a state.

Level Two: My research answers a question that helps me narrow the focus of my search. This question may mean that I need to go to various sources to gather enough information to get a reliable answer. The conclusion of the research will ask me to give a supported answer to the question.
Elementary example: What methods has my animal developed to help it survive?
Secondary example: What role has manufacturing played in a state’s economic development?

Level Three: My research answers a question of personal relevance. To answer this question I may need to consult not just secondary sources such as magazines, newspapers, books or the Internet, but use primary sources of information such as original surveys, interviews, or source documents.
Elementary example: What animal would be best for my family to adopt as a pet?
Secondary example: How can one best prepare for a career in manufacturing in my area of the state?

Level Four: My research answers a personal question about the topic, and contains information that may be of use to decision-makers as they make policy or distribute funds. The result of my research is a well supported conclusion that contains a call for action on the part of an organization or government body. There will be a plan to distribute this information.
Elementary example: How can our school help stop the growth in unwanted and abandoned animals in our community?
Secondary example: How might high schools change their curricula to meet the needs of students wanting a career in manufacturing in my state?

GoogleDoc spreadsheet with results.