Evaluating Sources


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5 criteria for evaluating credibility

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Evaluating Sources

  1. 1. Evaluating Sources Garbage in, garbage out.
  2. 2. Reading Critically <ul><li>As an author, you have the responsibility of presenting authentic and valid evidence to your reader. </li></ul>How to read critically…
  3. 3. Issues with the Internet <ul><li>Anyone can publish on the Internet </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Just because it’s there, doesn’t mean it’s good </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>California Velcro Crop </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Web pages have agendas </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Home pages—personal opinions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Commercially sponsored </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sponsored by organizations </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Evaluating Websites <ul><li>Check sites for the following: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Who authored it? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is it accurate? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is it objective (may use slanted sites, but use them for a reason)? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is the info timely? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is there enough info? </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Author <ul><li>Who sponsors the site? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>.edu, .gov, .org </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Beware of student papers on the .edu </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>.com </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Advertising </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Still could use, but beware of slant </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Is there an author? Is the page signed? </li></ul><ul><li>Is the author qualified? An expert? </li></ul><ul><li>Who is the sponsor? </li></ul><ul><li>Is the sponsor of the page reputable? How reputable? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there a link to information about the author or the sponsor? </li></ul><ul><li>If the page includes neither a signature nor indicates a sponsor, is there any other way to determine its origin? </li></ul>
  6. 6. Evaluating Authors <ul><li>Is the author a professional? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Run a quick Google search on author’s name (or organization) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Run a search on Amazon for other published books. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Look for a bibliography or works cited list. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Other primary sources for you to check out. </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Check this out… <ul><li>Check out who is linked to a particular site... </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Go to Google and type </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Link: (insert the URL of the site you want to check out) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>See what other sites are linked to your resource. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is this a credible source? </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Accuracy <ul><li>Is the information reliable and free from error? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there an editor or someone who verifies/checks the information? </li></ul>
  9. 9. Objectivity <ul><li>Does the information show a minimum of bias? </li></ul><ul><li>Is the page designed to sway opinion? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there any advertising on the page? </li></ul><ul><li>All writing contains bias of some sort. When using a source, judge whether or not the bias is acceptable. You may need it to prove/disprove your thesis. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Slanted Language <ul><li>Although you may have a primary source, beware of how the author frames the discussion (words used) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gulf War Comparison (British Press) </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Non-Internet Sources <ul><li>Even though it’s on paper, the same rules apply: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ In a girly-girl, eye-poking attack, House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.) demanded an investigation into “what the White House knew about the events leading up to the attack, when they knew it, and most importantly, what was done about it.” Gephardt’s genius plan for assuring air safety after September 11 was to federalize airport security. But he refused to allow airport security to scrutinize passengers who look like the last two doezen terrorists to attack civilian aircraft. That’s what he did when he knew about it.” (Ann Coulter, Treason, p. 260) </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Timeliness <ul><li>Is the page dated? </li></ul><ul><li>If so, when was the last update? </li></ul><ul><li>How current are the links? Have some expired or moved? </li></ul><ul><li>Check the copyright date </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If it’s technical or scientific information, you will want current (less than 4 years old) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Seminal works (those that influence an entire field) could be forty years old and still applicable. </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Coverage <ul><li>What topics are covered? </li></ul><ul><li>What does the page offer that is not found elsewhere? </li></ul><ul><li>What is its intrinsic value? </li></ul><ul><li>How in-depth is the material? </li></ul>
  14. 14. Is this the right source for my research? <ul><li>Read the table of contents </li></ul><ul><li>Check the blurbs </li></ul><ul><li>Read the bibliography or check out the links </li></ul><ul><li>Read the first and last couple of paragraphs—is it addressing my needs? </li></ul><ul><li>Check the copyright date </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If it’s technical or scientific information, you will want current (less than 4 years old) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Seminal works (those that influence an entire field) could be forty years old and still applicable. </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Summarizing the Source <ul><li>Take down all the pertinent information needed to cite the source in a bibliography (enter it directly into Noodle Tools) </li></ul><ul><li>In 3-6 sentences, write down the general nature of the source. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What’s the big picture? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What’s the author’s point of view? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is this a strong source (fair, primary, well-written)? </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Primary Source Documents <ul><li>When researching, use primary source documents whenever possible. Primary sources are: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Straight from the horse’s mouth </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Pieces of legislation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Library of Congress </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pictures, maps, documents </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Lewis and Clark Expedition </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other Collections </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The Library of Congress </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Note: A speech is a primary source if you heard it given. It’s secondary if you have a text copy. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Primary Source Documents <ul><li>Check out the bibliography </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Clues to other sources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What the author drew upon for the article/book. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Includes: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Novels </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Speeches </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Eyewitness accounts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interviews </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Letters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Autobiographies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Results of original research </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Internet Sites for Primary Source Documents <ul><li>Speeches </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The History Channel </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Documents </li></ul><ul><ul><li>US National Archives </li></ul></ul><ul><li>General Information </li></ul><ul><ul><li>National Public Radio </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Info on the media </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Media Education Foundation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>World Information </li></ul><ul><ul><li>National Geographic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>CIA Factbook </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Maps </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Secondary Sources <ul><li>Writings about primary sources </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Critical evaluation of irony in The Crucible </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Newspaper reports </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Analysis and evaluations </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Writings about author </li></ul><ul><li>Writings about author’s accomplishments </li></ul>
  20. 20. Secondary Sources <ul><li>These sources are always written from the writer’s point of view </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide different ways of looking at primary material </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be selective when using </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Quote sparingly </li></ul></ul>