Scholarship is foremost defined by its content. Among the six shared themes that authors Glassick, Huber, and Maeroff (1997) claimed are universal to traditional scholarship, three reflect the significance of achieving a sufficient level of information and knowledge development. The three themes, including clear goals, adequate preparation and appropriate methods, represent the essential content-based characteristics of effective scholarly research arguments:

Clear goals: Clear goals are established through the presence of an explicit argumentative claim.

Adequate preparation: Adequate preparation is demonstrated through a review of the relevant literature in which the argument is placed in the context of other scholars’ ideas and existing research.

Appropriate methods: An explicitly stated method of research consistent with an ideology of knowledge-building in the field demonstrates that legitimate scholarly research methods were followed.

The first question in Category A of the assessment tool is divided into sub-questions based on these three scholarly themes; it is designed to explore the extent to which webtexts incorporate traditional scholarly content. This is a significant question because it provides some evidence for determining whether online scholarship comprises more “scholarly substance” or technological “bells and whistles,” or a rhetorically valid contribution of both.

Question One: Content

a) Clear goals

b) Adequate preparation

c) Appropriate methods