Psychology Department Writing Rubric

Core Writing Rubric




(R) There are problems with the soundness of the arguments, ideas, and conclusions.

  • (Un) Unsupported: the conclusions do not follow from the arguments and ideas that have been presented.
  • (I) Illogical: the premises and conclusions don't match; there is no real argument or structure; it is random
  • (C) Clarify: a point needs to be developed or is unclear
  • (Th) Thesis: the thesis or topic of the paper is not stated or is unclear
  • (Pr) Premise: the premise of an argument is incorrect


(S) There are issues with how ideas are presented even though the ideas, arguments and conclusions may be reasonable.

  • (O) Organize: the structure makes it difficult to understand but reorganization would make it more clear
  • (N) Unnecessary: the point isn't important to this part of the paper or perhaps doesn't contribute to the overall organization of the paper
  • (Red) Redundant: the point has already been made and the paper is not improved by including it again. Perhaps limiting it to a different part of the paper would help.
  • (T) Transition: there isn't a transition between one point and another or the transition is unclear
  • (U) Unpack: the points are too condensed and the paper would benefit from elaboration on a point or points


(M) There are problems with the technicalities of writing such as grammar, word usage, punctuation, spelling, etc.

  • (G) Grammar: the grammar is incorrect
  • (Use) Usage: a word is used incorrectly
  • (Ref) Referent: the referent word is unclear
  • (P) Punctuation: incorrect punctuation
  • (Sp) Spelling: word is misspelled


(Sty) There are problems with the style of the paper.

  • (APA) APA style has not been used or has been used inappropriately
  • (Cit) Citation: a citation is missing or an incorrect citation format
  • (K) Awkward: the sentence is grammatically correct but doesn't read well; it could have been worded better
  • (Q) Quotation: too many quotes or there is plagiarism
  • (W) Wordy: the point could be made more succinctly
  • (WC) Word Choice: the word being used is technically correct but not stylistically correct
  • (Cas) Casual: too many colloquialisms or the tone is unprofessional
  • (E) Unengaging: the writing style makes the paper dry and uninteresting