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English 101 – Mrs. Salazar April 26, 2011 Evaluating SourcesBy Gina Singh
Research Sources SEARCH TOOL: LIBRARY CATALOG ENCYCLOPEDIAS Provide short entries/articles for an overview of the topic and its main ideas . SEARCH TOOL: PERIODICAL DATABASE BOOKS Give more information for an in-depth exploration of one or more aspects of the topic. (Example: Case study books, textbooks) JOURNAL ARTICLES Lengthy scholarly research studies on an extremely focused aspect of a subject.
Research Sources SEARCH TOOL: PERIODICAL DATABASE NEWSPAPER ARTICLES Very brief news reports that focus on current events or topics currently in the news. MAGAZINE ARTICLES As short as encyclopedia articles, but instead of an overview, magazines narrow the focus to one or two specific aspects of a topic.
Types of Resources Scholarly Sources It has abstract in the beginning It may have a list of keywords Article has a research problem Mentions studies that have addressed the problem in the past Has a purpose statement Has research question and hypothesis Uses qualitative, quantitative or mixed method approach to conduct research Has a conclusion at the end Has a bibliography or reference list at the end Popular Sources: Magazine articles like Style, Newsweek, Time etc. Newspaper sources: LA Times, Whittier Daily News etc. Primary Sources: Original writings created at the time when the event occurred. Secondary Sources: Sources that evaluate, summarize, analyze written by experts from that field after the event has occurred. Source: http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/rusa/sections/history/resources/pubs/usingprimarysources/index.cfm
Checklist for Evaluating Websites Author: Credentials & professional affiliations Timeframe: Current or past view. What time period does your topic require? Objectivity : Point of View or Bias Bibliography: Citations and references to other sources Coverage: Relevance to the assignment. Is the source too narrow? Too broad? Can you understand it? Format, Organization, Appearance: Is it Easy to read? Source: http://libguides.uwb.edu/content.php?pid=103537&sid=778496
Start with the URL http://www.stanford.edu/~ccarson/articles/am_left.htm http://is the protocol or access method www.stanford.eduis the domain or host name .edu is the top level domain ~ccarson/articles/am_left.htm is the directory path folder on the domain computer
Who is the author?
Look for an “About Us” link on the page.
Is it a personal page? Check for a tilde (~) in the URL.
If you can’t figure out who is responsible for the page, try truncating the URL:
Lets Practice Carefully read the following question and then examine the two websites to see which would be the better choice.
Which site would you use? You are writing a research paper about the collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge for a history class. Which site provides better information about bridge aerodynamics for you and your audience? A. Computational Bridge Aerodynamics www.bridgeaerodynamicslab.us/index.htm B. Mark Ketchum’s Bridge Aerodynamics Page www.ketchum.org/wind.html C. Both choices are equally good. D. Neither choice appears reliable.
Which site would you use? You are writing a research paper on Sojourner Truth and want to find verifiable biographical information about her. Which of the following sources would be the better choice? A. San Antonio College LitWeb www.alamo.edu/sac/english/bailey/struth.htm B. Sojourner Truth – African American Historical Figure http://www.brightmoments.com/blackhistory/nsotrue.html C. Both choices are equally good. D. Neither choice appears reliable.
Which site would you use? You are writing an essay exploring the life and work of Chinua Achebe and want to learn more about Achebe’s views. Which of the following sources would be the better choice? A. Chinua Achebewww.kirjasto.sci.fi/achebe.htm B. The Failure Interview: Chinua Achebe by Jason Zasky failuremag.com/index.php/feature/article/chinua_achebe C. Both choices are equally good. D. Neither choice appears reliable.
Which site would you use? You are writing a research paper about theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was executed by the Nazis for his opposition to Hitler. Which of the following sources would be a better place to get an overview of his life and work? A. Bonhoeffer www.pbs.org/bonhoeffer B. Dietrich Bonhoeffer www.ushmm.org/museum/exhibit/online/bonhoeffer C. Both choices are equally good. D. Neither choice appears reliable.
Which site would you use? You are writing a research paper exploring the pros and cons of using “marriage promotion” as a means to decrease poverty and improve families’ well-being. Which source below would be a more reliable source of statistics? Be prepared to explain your reasoning. A. The Heritage Foundationwww.heritage.org/Research/Family/cda0306.cfm B. The Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study www.fragilefamilies.princeton.edu/ C. Both choices are equally good. D. Neither choice appears reliable.
Website Evaluation Checklist Who is responsible for website? Check the URL (Uniform Resource Locator or web site address) because it may the name and type of organization sponsoring the webpage. E.g. edu, com, museum, gov, net. Check for author of the website: Credentials, contact address, about link. Reason for webpage: Its purpose Determine the origin of the document. Source: http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/rusa/sections/history/resources/pubs/usingprimarysources/index.cfm#evaluating * Thanks to Stephanie Wells for sharing some of her slides.
Additional Help For more on primary & secondary sources: http://lib1.bmcc.cuny.edu/help/sources.html Spotting Bias in news: http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/resources/educational/handouts/broadcast_news/bw_bias_in_the_news.cfm Tania ShabelnikLibguide: http://libguides.riohondo.edu/evaluatingwebsites
Start Research from the library homepage FIND BOOKS FIND JOURNAL, MAGAZINE, AND NEWSPAPER ARTICLES FIND CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS
For Off Campus Users: Access Rio Step 1 Click on Off Campus Users
Accessing Access Rio Step 2
Where to Search? For Books: Library Catalog http://library.riohondo.edu/ For Scholarly Articles: Databases: Proquest, Gale Reference Library. Off Campus Users: Access Rio For Controversial Topics: Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context, Issues and Controversies Check out Controversial Topics Books Link on the library homepage http://library.riohondo.edu/ For Historical Books : Google Books at http://books.google.com/ For Statistics data & charts: Social Science Database For population stats: US Census Bureau database