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Evaluate Your Research

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  • 1. Evaluate Your Research
  • 2. Quality Check This lesson reviews what we have learned. It’s time to double check and make sure that your information is current, factual, and authoritative Look over the information that you have gathered and ask some questions. • Who wrote it? • What is the scope? • Where was it published? • When was it written? • How is the information presented?
  • 3. Who wrote that article? When looking at a peer-reviewed article you should see the author’s name, professional affiliations and academic credentials. The information does not always follow the same format. But, the information about an author is important when determining the quality of the research article. You may also want to see if the author has written additional articles on the topic. The author’s name can lead to additional relevant information.
  • 4. Check the Reference List A peer-reviewed article will have a listing of cited references. Always check the references. The list can lead to other important information. If you see a reference cited in many places, consult it. It may be very important to the topic you’re exploring.
  • 5. Who wrote the book? Scholarly books you use should clearly indicate: • The author's or editor’s name • Author's academic credentials • Author's professional affiliations.
  • 6. Bibliographies and Notes As with journal articles a book’s author consults many resources. The bibliography and notes found in a book can lead to additional resources for your research. Books are amazing tools for in- depth research on a topic.
  • 7. Determine the Scope of a Publication The scope is the extent or breadth of the subject matter that a publication covers or to which it is relevant. The scope of a publication is usually defined at the beginning. For books it’s discussed in the introduction. For journal articles the scope is found in the abstract or the introduction.
  • 8. Scoping Out Relevancy The author’s intention and methodology are clearly stated in this abstract. The author wrote about the importance of “historical reenactment” and believes that “reenactments have the potential to create more open ended and contextual historical commemorations.”
  • 9. Looking for Bias Everyone has their particular viewpoint or bias. This is important to note when you are doing research. Bias is not necessarily a bad thing. However, it is important to recognize bias in your research. The authors in the Christianity Today may have a partiality that is reflected in the articles they write.
  • 10. Checking Up on Bias To determine bias look at the • The publisher’s information. • Author’s affiliation. • Date of publication. Any of these can help determine the bias found in an article or book. Sometimes just the title of a publication can reveal its bias.
  • 11. Currency The more recent the publication date the better. It’s a good way to think about the information you use in writing your paper. In the sciences currency is paramount. Usually books which are over five years old are considered too old. In any field use the latest insights for your research. Be up-to-date!
  • 12. Can you follow the evidence trail? In evaluating your sources it is important to note how the information is presented. The abstract of an article should clearly discuss the aims, background, design and method, results, conclusions, and relevance. Citations should be clearly marked throughout the publication. Conclusions and relevance of the research should be plainly stated. References follow a standard academic format.
  • 13. Next we’ll look at formatting your paper. In the academic world research papers must follow standards in format. Do the student activity for this lesson. After that proceed to the next lesson. Revised Wednesday, February 5, 15.

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