Evaluating Source Material
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Evaluating Source Material

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The third installment of the Writing the Research Paper seminar by the Wingate University Writing Center.

The third installment of the Writing the Research Paper seminar by the Wingate University Writing Center.

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Evaluating Source Material Evaluating Source Material Presentation Transcript

  • “ Researching, Reading, Writing, & Thinking Critically” Greta Wood, Reference/Instruction/Catalog Librarian Kevin Winchester, Writing Center Director
  • Remember the 6 Important Steps
    • Thoroughly Understand the Assignment
    • Do a little Thinking before you begin your research or your writing
    • Invent to further define and narrow your topic
    • Visit the Library, start gathering source material
    • Create your Research Map
    • Assemble Your Research Dossiers
  • As you begin evaluating your source material, you should have:
    • Determined from Thinking about your Assignment if your paper’s style will be Argumentative of Analytical.
    • Developed a “working thesis” for an argumentative paper, or posed a question to explore for an analytical paper.
    • Gathered the initial sources you hope to use in the paper.
    View slide
  • Now you’ll need to:
    • Determine which sources will be useful
    • Invent and Revise Search Strategies to supplement your sources, narrow or broaden your focus, and address “new” information you’ve discovered
    • Prepare your Research Dossiers
    View slide
  • When Considering the Usefulness of a Potential Source:
    • Analyze the Title
    • Scan the Table of Contents for Chapter or Essay Titles
    • Read the source’s abstract or summary
    • Consider the source’s bibliography or index
  • … for EACH source you consider.
  • Enter the proper citation info FIRST!
    • Research Dossier #7 – for “Hills Like White Elephants” paper
    • Start with citation information, properly formatted:
    • (Works Cited vs. Bibliography)
    • Ranft, Gerardine Luongo. “End, Not Reduce, Abortion.” Sojourners Magazine . 38.2 (Feb. 2009): 4.
  • Then, if you think the source is useful:
    • READ IT!
    • Use the SCIP reading strategy.
  • Reading: SCIP
    • S : What S urprised you in the source material? S ummarize it!
    • C : What C hallenged you about the material?
    • I : What I nspired, I ntrigued, or I nterested you?
    • P : What P uzzled you?
    • Which of these might you use?
    • Make Notes for your RESEARCH DOSSIER!
  • Research Dossier #7 – Hills Like White Elephants
    • Ranft, Gerardine Luongo. “End, Not Reduce, Abortion.” Sojourners Magazine . 38.2 (Feb. 2009): 4.
    • SCIP:
    • Article is a “letter to the editor.” The author states plenty of “facts” about the negative effects abortion has on women, things like: it changes the relationship; they might abuse their other children, etc. It is well written and the author of the letter seems to be intelligent and informed about the subject.
    • One quote I might be able to use is: “greater alcohol abuse has been found among women having abortions” since the couple in the story are also drinking alcohol. Pg 4.
  • If the Source is not useful, or it leads you to new information to explore… … it’s time to return to the invention / search stage
  • Searching for Sources: The Information Cycle Timeline and Types of Resources
    • Information cycle timeline
      • The three main types of resources fall at different intervals on the Information Cycle Timeline
        • Primary (Original event)
        • Secondary (Analysis of the event)
        • Tertiary (Broad overview and summary of sources)
  • Information Cycle Timeline and Types of Resources
    • Typically an academic research paper will require you to find secondary sources to support your thesis
      • There is a broad range of secondary sources on the information cycle timeline
        • What kinds of secondary sources will be useful?
          • Websites? Magazines? Journals? Books?
  • The Context of Usefulness
    • The concept of “usefulness” shifts with the context of your need
      • Understanding the assignment will give you guidelines for determining what is useful for the purposes of this particular project
        • What types and kinds of secondary sources are required by my professor?
        • Research papers typically call for scholarly books and peer-reviewed journal articles
  • Scholarly Books
    • When considering the usefulness of a book as a potential secondary source, look for:
      • A title that provides clues to the item’s purpose and contents
      • A table of contents in the front with chapter or essay titles applicable to your topic
      • An index in the back with names, themes, and keywords applicable to your topic
      • A bibliography providing evidence of scholarly support and ways to extend your research
      • BUT FIRST take a look at the publication information
  • Scholarly Books: Publisher, Publication Date, and Title
  • Scholarly Books: Publisher, Title, and Notes
  • Peer-Reviewed Articles
    • What to use and when
      • Magazines and newspapers transmit information earlier in the information cycle timeline than peer-reviewed journals, so they may be good sources to keep tabs on current trends, but academic research papers typically require peer-reviewed secondary sources
      • The New York Times is a respectable publication useful to many people in many situations, but if your assignment calls for peer-reviewed articles it is not a useful resource in this context
  • Peer-Reviewed Articles
    • Periodical Terminology
      • Magazines/Newspapers: topics of popular interest written in a non-scholarly style for a general audience
      • Journals: original research and commentary written for a specialized audience including footnotes, a bibliography, and/or works cited
        • Peer-reviewed/Refereed/Juried
        • Prior to publication, articles are subjected to a critical review process by one or more experts (referees, jurors) on the subject who evaluate the quality of the research
  • Research Minutes, Olin & Uris Libraries, Cornell University
  • Library Databases vs. The Internet
    • Why can’t I use Google to find sources for my research paper?
      • Access and Evaluation
        • Google = Pay Per View & Library databases = Free
        • Is what I find using Google an appropriate resource for my assignment?
          • What type of source is it?
            • Wikipedia is a tertiary source
          • What kind of source is it?
            • Library databases offer the peer-reviewed limiter
        • If you are working on an academic paper that requires scholarly, peer-reviewed sources, it’s easier, faster, and cheaper to use the Library databases to find your sources
  • Need Help Evaluating A Source?
    • Ask a Librarian
    • Ask your Professor
    • Consult these online sources:
      • Duke University Libraries: Evaluating Information Sources: Basic Principles
        • http://library.duke.edu/services/instruction/libraryguide/evaluating.html
      • Duke University Libraries: Evaluating Web Pages
        • http://library.duke.edu/services/instruction/libraryguide/evalwebpages.html
  • Evaluate specifically for your paper… … using the STAR strategy!
  • Evaluating: STAR
    • S : Is there S ufficient evidence and s upport for the position?
    • T : Is the evidence / article T ypical of other source material on the topic?
    • A : Is the evidence A ccurate, without bias, measurable or verifiable?
    • R : Are the author and publication R espected & R eliable?
    • Make Notes on your Research Dossiers!
  • Research Dossier #7 – Hills Like White Elephants
    • Ranft, Gerardine Luongo. “End, Not Reduce, Abortion.” Sojourners Magazine . 38.2 (Feb. 2009): 4.
    • SCIP:
    • Article is a “letter to the editor.” The author states plenty of “facts” about the negative effects abortion has on women, things like: it changes the relationship; they might abuse their other children, etc. It is well written and the author of the letter seems to be intelligent and informed about the subject.
    • One quote I might be able to use is: “greater alcohol abuse has been found among women having abortions” since the couple in the story are also drinking alcohol. Pg 4.
    • STAR:
    • She mentions plenty of “facts,” and I’ve seen/heard similar comments. But, this source is somewhat unreliable in my opinion. The author does present info in the form of “facts” but she does not cite where she found those facts, so she could be making them up. Also, Sojourners Magazine has the reputation of being a conservative Christian publication, so it probably has a bias against abortion in general. May be able to use to present an opposing view in my paper though.
  • … it’s time to start your first draft!
  • BEFORE you draft:
    • Organize your Research Dossiers
      • You may want to prepare an outline at this stage
    • Revise your working thesis / question
    • Consider the most interesting aspects for your AUDIENCE and draft your introductory paragraph to “hook” your reader
  • Next Session:
    • Tuesday, Mar 24, 9:30
    • “ Writing the Paper: Integrating Source Materials”
    • Strategies for working “quotes” smoothly into your paper, working with in-text citations, formatting the Works Cited / Reference sections, and final revisions.
  • The Writing Center & The Ethel K. Smith Librar y