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EVALUATING SOURCES. THE NEED FOR EFFECTIVE SOURCES Lend credibility to your arguments Support your points with researched information A source is only.

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Presentation on theme: "EVALUATING SOURCES. THE NEED FOR EFFECTIVE SOURCES Lend credibility to your arguments Support your points with researched information A source is only."— Presentation transcript:


2 THE NEED FOR EFFECTIVE SOURCES Lend credibility to your arguments Support your points with researched information A source is only as good as its author and sources – i.e. an opinion piece, without supporting evidence, does little to help a research paper

3 CREDIBILITY AND RELIABILITY The author’s credentials, gender, age, race, and other factors can play a role Bias must be considered – is there an agenda? Can the source material be verified? Is the information recent or out of date? Does the information fit with what is already known, or does it suggest a new (and perhaps radical) deviation from the current body of knowledge?

4 TYPES OF SOURCES Can generally be divided into scholarly (researched) sources and non-scholarly sources Vary in appropriateness for different papers and purposes Can include books, articles in journals and magazines, the internet, government documents, television programs, etc.

5 Types of Sources, con’t Primary or Secondary Primary sources contain the original data and research conducted by the author Secondary sources (like many research papers) compile data drawn from other sources Most sources are a mixture of the two – the source may be the primary source for the idea you are using, but uses other sources to support that idea, along with the author’s own data.

6 SCHOLARLY/RESEARCHED SOURCES Can include books, journal articles, and government documents Generally written by experts in the field (credentials may vary by area) Tend to focus on specific areas of inquiry Often use specific and technical vocabulary Include the conclusions of the authors as well as the information used to reach those conclusions

7 NON-SCHOLARLY SOURCES Include books, magazine articles, and the internet May include actual research, but are generally written by non-credentialed authors Vary in effectiveness and credibility, and are dependent on the audience and situation. Often arrive at conclusions without supporting evidence (opinions)

8 SOURCE GUIDELINES FOR CLASS For the Ad Analysis and Research Paper, you are expected to use SCHOLARLY sources. Scholarly sources must (at minimum): Have formally documented sources (internal citations and bibliography page) Be at least 4 pages in length Non-scholarly sources may be used as additional sources, but will not meet the requirements for the main sources.

9 BOOKS Can be scholarly or non-scholarly May contain a list of referenced material at the end (useful for finding more sources) While not always peer reviewed, books in libraries are generally reviewed by librarians for appropriateness Encyclopedias, dictionaries, and course textbooks are too general to be of use for serious research (though they may help you get started)

10 JOURNALS AND MAGAZINES Both contain articles, often with a specific topic being discussed Both can be reliable and credible, depending on your assignment and purpose for writing There are important differences between the two that affect overall usefulness for research:

11 JOURNAL/MAGAZINE ARTICLES IMPORTANT NOTE: Through the virtual library, you can access numerous articles. If the database you are using has a copy of the article available to be read or printed out, it will generally be in one of two formats. You need to know what these are and how to use them.

12 PDF VS. FULLTEXT The two formats you will generally find are PDF and fulltext. PDF (portable document format) Looks like an exact copy of the article as it originally appeared Most useful because it retains accurate page numbers Can often be cited as if you actually obtained the print copy itself (check with your instructor) Fulltext Someone has taken the time to type out the article in its entirety Does not look like the original; lacks accurate page numbers, pictures from the original, and the like Can only be cited as coming from the database Long sources can be problematic because there is no way to accurately reference the specific page where you found the material you have cited Whenever possible, PDF should be the preferred format.

13 JOURNAL ARTICLES Considered to be scholarly resources Lengthy – generally 5 pages or more (there are few exceptions to this) Intended for a more educated audience Written by experts in the field of study Contain a list of referenced sources

14 Journal Articles, con’t Are peer reviewed by other experts in the field before publication Focused on specific aspects of a topic, rather than general subject area Generally lack color or many pictures, except for appropriate charts, graphs, and other needed information Lack commercial advertising Tend to be published less frequently (quarterly, biannually, annually)

15 MAGAZINE ARTICLES Considered to be non-scholarly resources – they can still be useful, but are not as credible Short – generally 5 pages or less (note: they can be longer) Intended for a general, non-academic audience Written by journalists, who are generally not experts in the topic

16 Magazine Articles, con’t May acknowledge sources, but rarely, if ever, provide documentation or a list of referenced material Are edited and approved by editorial personnel, without review by experts Topics vary and cover many areas; often written to entertain or generally inform Are usually colorful and contain pictures and a lot of commercial advertising Tend to be frequently published (daily, weekly, monthly)

17 THE INTERNET/ELECTRONIC RESOURCES Contain both useless and useful information Can be very misleading Have different types of sites to serve different purposes Should be avoided as the sole source for research (academic article databases are an exception, along with library sites)

18 INTERNET/ELECTRONIC RESOURCES Little to no review process – anyone can post anything. Often used to promote alternative agendas, theories, and blatant misinformation Please refer to the Electronic Resources handout for more information

19 OTHER TYPES OF SOURCES Interviews - can be helpful for expert opinion Credentials should be verified Often biased Generally not a primary source of support Popular literature (books, magazines, songs, etc) - can be used to look at cultural trends News programs - provide information about current events Tend to provide general overviews or very narrow situations Often considered to be biased There are many other types that might be useful for your papers which are not listed here!

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