Presentation on theme: "SOURCES finding & evaluating them. Evaluating the AUTHORITY of a source – what questions should we ask? Is the author or organization identified? What."— Presentation transcript:
Evaluating the AUTHORITY of a source – what questions should we ask? Is the author or organization identified? What do we know about the author’s bio, credentials, affiliations? Can you contact him/her? Who is the publisher? A university press, commercial publisher, gov. institution or is this self-published? In what type of periodical does the article appear? Is it a scholarly journal or a popular magazine? If it’s a website – what questions should we ask? Who is the author of this web site? Can one contact him/her? Is this a person, government, commercial or organization? (look for the ending of domain: com, gov, edu, mil, org, jp, ru…) Bottom-line: If you can’t find who’s responsible for this website, don’t use it!
Evaluating the PURPOSE & OBJECTIVITY of a source – what questions should we ask? Who is the intended audience? Is there a way to identify the objectives? Print vs. Web – printing is expensive & publishers less likely to cater to special interests Was the source written to inform? Persuade? Teach? Entertain? Sell? How easy is it to differentiate advertising from content on the site? What are the author’s affiliations? What is the purpose of the periodical in which this article is published? Does the author have a reason to be misleading or unfair? Is there an obvious bias or agenda? Is the information presented as fact or opinion? Any sweeping generalizations or one-sided arguments? What is the tone and style of writing?
Evaluating the ACCURACY of a source – what questions should we ask? Does the author include citations, bibliography or links to other websites? What types of sources are cited? What kind of evidence is provided? What research methods have been used by this source? Have other scholars used and cited this source? How current is this source? How close was this PS to the event? When was this source written or published? Is currency important for your topic? How current are the sources listed in the bibliography? When was this site created or updated? Do links still work? What’s the writing & graphic style? Are there spelling or grammatical errors? Can you verify this information elsewhere?
Evaluating Wikipedia You can’t rely on Wikipedia or cite it as a research source, but we all use it as a starting point. It’s often a good place to look up topics and then follow the sources provided at the end of some Wikipedia articles. Things to be especially careful about: Is the article challenged/disputed? Like these: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campaign_finance_reform_in_the_United_States or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_consulting or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campaign_finance_reform_in_the_United_States http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_consulting http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_violence What is the quality of the writing? Are there any missing source citations? Are there at least 5 references to other sources at the bottom? How current is the web site? When was it last updated? Are the links working?
SCHOLARLY vs. POPULAR periodicals Scholarly Journals – authors are scholars, experts Peer-reviewed, sources always cited, specialized, serious appearance, articles often have an abstract, original research, specialized language of the discipline Ex: Journal of African American History, Social Psychology Quarterly, BioScience Substantive/General Interest – published by professional organizations for broad audience, in depth articles, sources cited Ex: NYT, National Geographic, Time magazine Popular - for general and casual readers, entertainment, selling, ads, easy reading, short, no depth, eye-catching Sources rarely cited, even authors Ex: People, Sports Illustrated
Finding sources Whether a certain type of source will work for your project depends on your topic and on your evaluation of that source. Books, periodicals, websites, people, primary sources, databases What is an online database? Online databases are paid, password-protected, searchable collections of information – often more accurate, relevant, and authoritative than what you would find on the free Internet. Most databases contain full-text articles from books, magazines, journals, newspapers, plus photographs, audio & video clips. Advantages – reliable sources, citations provided, efficiency. Our school district’s online catalog is a good place to start your research using the subscription database resources: eLibrary, SIRS and World Book Encyclopedia – go to http://destiny.sandi.net (username sandi1, password: library). http://destiny.sandi.net
What to do next: (20 pts) Grab a laptop, go to my webpage and find a list of suggested RESEARCH SOURCES http://www.sandi.net//Domain/2919 http://www.sandi.net//Domain/2919 Get into six groups: each group will be assigned a few web sources from this list – to explore & then teach the class how to use them for research. Work on this today and present /teach next time. You must show us the web sources, demonstrate sample searches, give your opinion about them & answer any questions. Let me show you source #24 (Purdue Online Lab) Research tips & MLA help - https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/558/6/ (research) & https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/ (for MLA guide) https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/558/6/ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/