CBFE Field Paper & Evaluation Rubric

The field paper shows the student is an independent researcher with a paper ready for submission to a journal or a conference. This paper should be finalized before the sixth semester. In the second year, students will work with their primary advisor to draft a manuscript, then the advisor will select three (3) faculty members to anonymously review the paper and submit reports back to the advisor. These faculty reviewers will provide a conventional “Revise and Resubmit” report, as would be provided for a journal article for peer review. The student will then (1) revise the paper, (2) prepare a point-by-point response to reviewers and (3) re-submit both documents to the advisor. The advisor will review the revised paper and responses, in consultation with the reviewers. The advisor may require further iterations or revisions until the manuscript is approved.

The purpose of the field paper is for the student to provide evidence of independent research scholarship. Upon its completion, the paper’s quality should qualify for submission to a journal or professional conference.

A manuscript that fails to meet the revise standard or better will be rejected and the student is expected to start the field paper process over. A final field paper should have “Accept” in all categories. The process for the field paper should generally follow this timeline:

  • 1st Year Summer: Discuss topic ideas with faculty
  • 2nd Year Fall: Advisor designated; Initial research and presentation at seminar/workshop
  • 2nd Year Spring: Draft completed
  • 2nd Year Summer: Advisor solicits reviews and student begins revisions and R&R letter
  • 3rd year Fall: Field paper completed and accepted. Student prepares for journal submissions.

Field Paper Evaluation Rubric

Accept Revise Reject
Theory Paper is motivated by a clear and well-developed theory or model. Clear research question with predictions. Theory or model are weakly developed or present ambiguous predictions without discussion. No or poorly developed theory or motivation. Research question unclear.
Methods Methods are well and accurately described, as well as appropriate for the research question. Methods are generally appropriate but need further development or lack robustness. Methods are missing or not appropriate.
Application Findings are applied to the research questions and used to discuss policy or practice implications. Weak connections between findings and research questions and lack of detailed applications of findings. No direct discussion of finding and implications.
Professional Communication High quality, academic style writing and formatting. Ready for submission to a journal. Paper structure is generally appropriate but writing quality poor. Multiple mistakes or poor writing quality. Text and format do not convey understanding of materials.
To satisfy the CBFE PhD milestone, the final revised field paper and reviewer response must be approved by your advisor and then submitted to the CBFE Graduate Committee. This is a major milestone, equivalent to passing the qualification exam. This process requires several months; faculty require sufficient time to provide detailed input, and students require substantial time to adequately and thoroughly address input that is received. You must have a preliminary draft approved by your primary advisor by the end of your second year, no later than July 1.  In order to satisfy this milestone, the field paper and the ‘response to reviewers’ letter has to be approved by your advisor and then submitted by your advisor to the CBFE GPC for review.
Completed field papers should be ready to submit to a journal. When you submit the paper to your advisor, indicate what publication(s) you might want to send your paper as part of this process.
Most field papers are based on existing secondary data. There is a vast array of data resources available to you at the UW Campus; contact CBFE faculty for ideas.


School of Human Ecology Graduate Programs Handbook Copyright © 2022 by Michelle Holland. All Rights Reserved.

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