typewriting on wooden desk with book, coffee, and piece of paper

Writing is a skill that must be practiced over time with planning and revision. Great writers aren’t great on their first drafts, so give yourself time and follow the writing process. Below I’ve outlined a guide for general writing structure and a basic rubric to follow. Feel free to explore the writing tools in this section as well as the various lessons on language.

General Structure

         Every well-crafted piece of writing—from a publishable research paper to a discussion post—clearly structures its ideas. This begins with creating clear sections and having a simple and straightforward way to organize your ideas. Whenever you write in HCI, you should follow the general structure below:

  1. Introduction: Here you outline the parameters of your paper or assignment, introducing concepts and key terms, while explaining to your reader what will be accomplished, said, or shown in the paper’s body. It will also contain the paper’s thesis or main idea.
  2. Body: This is the heart of your text. It will argue, explain, inform, or detail the very thing that you’re writing about. If relevant, this section will contain your evidence, quotes, or other information from outside sources.
  3. Conclusion: This section ties together the information from your body (and introduction) and wraps up your findings, argument, or explanation. Do not introduce any new ideas here, but bring together what you have previously said, so that the reader better understands your overall objective.
  4. Reference Section (if needed): All sources must be listed here in proper AMA format

General Writing Rubric

Excellent Good Needs Some Work Unacceptable Value (%)
Analysis and Critical Thought Student makes original connections between ideas/data. Their analysis advances the overall understanding of the subject matter and brings to light new information Student makes original connections and conclusions about the subject matter. It is given a critical examination, which advances the overall understanding of the topic Student attempts to examine and connect the material rather than make obvious and unoriginal statements. Critical thought is present but lacks full development Student states or repeats obvious facts without further elaboration. Data or information is merely presented and not contextualize or examined 25%
Overall Clarity, Organization, and Structure Ideas are clearly introduced, outlined, and connected via a thesis and topic sentences. Ideas are presented in organized paragraphs/sections with introductions and conclusions Ideas are outlined and presented in paragraphs or sections. The main idea (thesis) is outlined yet vaguely connected to the paragraphs/sections Attempts are made to order ideas, but the work lacks overall structure and seems scattered in places. The main idea (thesis) seems unclear Ideas are scattered and incomprehensible. There is no clear order or outline to the work. A main idea (thesis) is not present 35%
Use of Evidence and Citations Assignment incorporates and connects ideas to relevant source material. This evidence clearly advances and supports the ideas presented. References are relevant, reliable, and cited properly. Assignment incorporates evidence and shows its connection to the ideas throughout. References are relevant, reliable, and cited properly. Assignment includes evidence but does not clearly connect or explain its purpose. Citations are complete and on-topic, but have minor formatting issues Assignment has no supporting evidence and does not use citations If citations are present, they may be incomplete or irrelevant 20%
Sentence-Level Errors: Grammar and Punctuation Sentence-level errors are very rare or non-existent. The punctuation/grammar adds to the clarity or presentation of the work overall Sentence-level errors are rare and do not impede the overall clarity of the work or ideas presented The sentence-level errors make the work more difficult to understand and less professional, but the ideas are comprehensible Sentence-level errors make the work very difficult or impossible to understand 20%

Last Updated April 6, 2017