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1. Identify two ideas from each of the following that demonstrate your thoughts and/or what you’ve learned, appreciated, or have questions about. They Say/I SayChapters 9-10Conducting Sound Research MaterialsA Rulebook for Arguments, IV”Determining if a Source is Sound,” “Scholarly sources” section, p. 1″‘Consider the Source'””Why Can’t I Just Google?”‘ (3:13)3″Conducting Sound Research: The Cuyamaca Way” (2:18)https://animoto.com/play/QBMFimusjnh7LL0XEoOgvg?au…”Gateway to Research” (3:13)http://support.ebsco.com/training/flash_videos/eds…Developing MLA Works Cited ListsEssay Four Instructions
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Determining If a Source Is Sound for Academic Work
Types of sources to use in academics
The types of sources you’ll use in your academic work will vary depending on the assignment (e.g.,
a critique of popular culture or a study of the respiratory system of an ant), the academic discipline
(e.g., psychology or chemistry), and the level of scholarship at which you are working (e.g.,
freshman composition or graduate-level physics).
Ø Regardless of the assignment, all sources must be “sound,” meaning they pass the CRAAP
test (they must be current, relevant, authoritative, accurate, and written with a clear and
appropriate purpose), and they must be used in an accurate and responsible way.
Ø In addition to being sound, instructors will often ask you to use “scholarly” sources.
Scholarly sources
As you progress in college, the expectation will increase that you use “scholarly” sources to
support your assertions. Scholarly sources are also referred to as “peer-reviewed” or “refereed”
sources and are written by experts in a particular field to present the most recent research and
findings and typically defend particular conclusions they’ve drawn.
Scholarly sources are rigorously evaluated by disciplines and are therefore (often) the most
authoritative sources in a field. Scholarly sources will therefore often provide the most substantial
information for your research papers.
What is peer-review?
When a source has been peer-reviewed it has undergone the review and scrutiny of a review
board of colleagues in the author’s field. Professional peers evaluate this source as part of the
body of research for a particular discipline and make recommendations regarding its
publication in a journal, revisions prior to publication, or, in some cases, reject its publication.
Why use scholarly (peer-reviewed) sources?
The authority and credibility evident in scholarly sources will improve the quality of your paper
or research project. Use of scholarly sources is an expected attribute of most academic work.
Where can I find scholarly sources?
Scholarly Books
Scholarly books are typically published by academic presses and can be found by searching
library catalogs.
Scholarly Articles
Scholarly articles are typically published by disciplinary journals (e.g. American Philosophical
Quarterly, Journal of Popular Culture, American Journal of Emergency Medicine, American
Behavioral Scientist). You can find scholarly journals and articles in college and university library
databases. In some college library databases, you can filter to find peer-reviewed sources.
NOTE: Research universities like UC San Diego and SDSU provide access to the most databases, making
relevant, timely sources easier to find. Because two-year colleges have much more limited funding, they provide
access to fewer databases, so you have to be more diligent and modify your topics and claims to ensure they
are supported by scholarly evidence when it is required. It gets easier at the four-year level. J
1
Sound sources
Depending on your assignment, not all sources need to be scholarly but ALL sources need to be
SOUND. The CRAAP Test can help you evaluate sources. For each potential source, ask the
following critical questions to evaluate whether sources are sound and/or scholarly.
CRAAP
Criteria
Ask
o
Currency
o
o
o
Relevance
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
Authority
o
o
o
o
Accuracy
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
Purpose
o
o
o
o
When was the information published or posted?
Is the date of publication evident?
Has the information been revised or updated?
Does your topic require current information, or will older sources work as
well?
Are the links functional?
When was the information published or posted?
Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
Who is the intended audience of this source?
Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or
advanced for your needs)?
Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you
will use?
Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor? Are their names provided?
What are the author’s credentials or organizational affiliations?
Is the author qualified to write on the topic?
Who is the publisher of the information? Is there contact information, such
as a publisher or email address?
Is the publisher an academic institution, scholarly, or professional
organization?
Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source (e.g., .com .edu
.gov .org .com .net)?
Is their purpose for publishing this information evident?
Would you be comfortable citing this source in your research paper?
Where does the information come from?
Are conclusions based on evidence provided?
Are research claims documented?
Are sources cited?
Are there charts, graphs, tables, and bibliographies included?
Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal
knowledge?
Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?
Are there spelling, grammar or typographical errors?
Why is the information being provided? What is the purpose of the
information? Is it to inform, teach, sell, entertain or persuade?
Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
Is the information fact, opinion or propaganda?
Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional or personal
biases?
Information provided in this table, adapted from “Evaluating Information – Applying the CRAAP Test,” CSU, Chico, Miriam
Library, https://www.csuchico.edu/lins/handouts/eval_websites.pdf
2
Sound and scholarly sources by source type
When evaluating each of the following types of sources for soundness and/or scholarship, ask the
following questions.
Source
Type
Ask
Publisher
o Who is the publisher?
Books published by a university press, professional organizations, and the
US Government Printing Office are likely to be scholarly and are typically
sound.
Books
Book Reviews
o What do the book reviews say?
Book reviews published by authoritative sources can provide clues about
whether a source is sound and/or scholarly and highlight the intended
audience. Authoritative book reviews include those from Kirkus Reviews,
Publishers Weekly and from journals, for example. Amazon customer
reviews are not necessarily sound and not the type of book review referred
to here.
o
o
Articles
o
o
o
Webpages
o
o
o
o
Is the journal respected in that field?
Test: Is it included in college library databases? When googling, “Top
Disciplinary Journals” is the journal listed on a reputable website?
Who is the publisher?
Respected journals are often published by university presses or
professional organizations.
Are the author’s professional affiliations provided?
How many and what kinds of advertisements are present?
For example, is the advertising clearly geared towards readers in a
specific discipline or occupation or is does it refer to lowering
mortgages, get-rich-quick schemes, or celebrity weight gain?
What is the domain of the page (e.g., .edu, .gov, .com)?
Use websites and pages with extreme caution. Rely on .edu and .gov
sites.
Who is publishing or sponsoring the page?
Is contact information for the author/publisher provided?
How recently was the page updated?
Is the information biased?
o
TIP: Understand the reputation and bias of the site. Read the “About”
page and google the organization to learn if it is an advocacy site with a
bias. Typically, appropriate sources for academic work will not have
evidence of bias.
o
NOTE: Wikipedia is not an academic source.
Continued à
3
Unsound sources
The following sources are not sound for academic work.
Source
Problem
o
o
o
A common Wikipedia lapse in judgment:
o
Students sometimes rely on Wikipedia but don’t cite it. Your instructors can easily catch this,
as can plagiarism detection software. This is plagiarism and subject to assignment failure
and progressive discipline.
o
Sound techniques:
o
Learn a new term, definition, or theory in Wikipedia and then search for expert information
about it.
o
Look for expert sources that Wikipedia links to and then evaluate that source for soundness.
o
Advocacy sites have reached conclusions on topics and often present one-sided information that
supports only their position(s).
They typically reflect clear bias.
If they are faith-based, we can’t debate their assertions based on evidence.
While there is more to human life and experience than can be defended with evidence, in
academics, we focus on evidence-based assertions, so anyone with access to the facts can
debate their use and interpretation. There are other essential institutions and forums in which
advocacy can be pursued and questions faith can be discussed.
To determine if a site is advocacy-based or faith-based, google it. Reputable sources will likely
have commented on the group.
Wikipedia
o
o
Advocacy &
Faith-Based
Sites &
Sources
Non-Expert
Sources
o
o
EXCEPTION: You may use advocacy sources to discuss and critique existing perspectives on a
topic – in other words, to provide a sense of “What’s out there? What are people saying?” You
may agree or disagree with these perspectives, but they will only form part of your evidence. Your
primary evidence must come from sound sources. NOTE: Relying on biased sources can
undermine your credibility, so use them with caution.
o
A physicist is an expert in physics, not in family planning. A rapper is an expert in rap as may be a
professor in popular culture.
Depending on your assignment, you must assess and use the most credible sources.
Do not use non-experts to weigh in on a topic. Check their credentials and name their expertise in
your paper when introducing them.
For most topics you’ll explore in college, there will be expert, research-reliant scholars studying
your field. These, then, would be the most appropriate sources
o
o
o
Breitbart
Blogs &
Popular
Media
Wikipedia can be a useful source for gathering general information before conducting sound
research.
However, it is NOT an appropriate source to rely on because its accuracy isn’t necessarily or
consistently verified by experts.
o
Founding board member Steve Bannon is recorded as having said their website does not seek to
take multiple sides into account when arriving at conclusions or writing their articles. Instead, he
says, they opt for “swagger.” They are not, he says, like NPR [National Public Radio] which he
acknowledges works to understand and reflect both sides.* In academics, we must be truthseeking, not swagger-seeking. Our political future depends upon strong conservative, liberal, and
moderate voices. Opponents (the people we really need to persuade) will only trust us if we keep
our biases in check and are truth-seeking.
o
REPUTABLE CONSERVATIVE PUBLICATIONS: National Review, The Wall Street Journal, The
Weekly Standard, National Affairs, The Christian Science Monitor, The American Conservative,
Washington Times
o
EXCEPTION: As is true for advocacy sites, you may use Breitbart to discuss and critique existing
perspectives on a topic. You may agree or disagree with them, but they will only form part of your
evidence. Your primary evidence must come from sound sources that meet the CRAAP Test.
o
Often, blogs and popular media are not written/created by experts and should not be used. You
must research the qualifications of authors of blogs and popular media sites before using them.
o
EXCEPTION: If you are studying popular circulating ideas, they may be used, but you must
analyze them using reputable sources and your sound judgment. You must not rely on these
sources for their conclusions, but rather because they represent a particular point of view that you
will then critique. It’s okay to agree with their conclusions, but additional evidence from nonbiased sources should be emphasized and more prominent in your essays.
4
Timeliness exception
Sometimes articles or books remain significant in a given field for years or decades because –
Ø
Ø
they provide a basis for current theory or practice –orbecause they once held significant influence but are being questioned at the time of your
research.
Depending on your assignment, it is often perfectly appropriate to use these. As you learn more about
your field, you’ll come to recognize its seminal writings. If, when researching, you find other authors
frequently referencing an older work this is likely a seminal writing in your field.
What is bias?
US media (and all media globally) are influenced by spoken and unspoken assumptions and biases.
Assumptions and biases are not inherently bad. They are formed by the times in which we live, our
experiences, our socioeconomic circumstances, our education, our training, our culture(s), available
knowledge, and, in short, all significant influences in our lives. Across locations and experiences, we
share many common assumptions and biases (that we should be good to each other, for example).
So, when we question an author’s or our own assumptions, we’re not accusing them or ourselves for
doing something “bad.” In this class, I assume you want to learn and grow and my bias is that writing
classes play a big role in helping you to do that. The course reflects that assumption and bias. If I
assumed you wanted to use this information to hurt people or to, heaven forbid, steal my cat, the course
would look and feel different.
Although biases are not bad, as scholars, it is our responsibility to be critical and reflective about our
own thinking to remove as much bias as possible in our research and writing. We do this by maintaining
an open mind, questioning our own assumptions, going where the evidence leads, and being
responsible in our use of sources. In this class, we have fairly limited evidence to work from (we can only
read so much in a short time). As you advance in your field, however, the depth of evidence before you
will be great. You’ll work with more complexity and disagreement. Build the basic foundation now to be
prepared to meet those challenges in a responsible, rewarding, and professionally helpful way.
Newspapers of record
In the US, there are what we refer to as “newspapers of record.” They are recognized to be authoritative
because they work to eliminate bias by gathering facts through large newsgathering networks and to
maintain the professional standards associated with strong journalism. This is not to say that don’t
reflect bias in their editorial choices, content, and perspective, or that they don’t breach their ethical
obligations at times. When evaluating any source, again, it’s our job to step back and critically analyze
the information and go where the bulk of available evidence leads us.
Newspapers of record include –
Ø
Ø
Ø
Ø
The New York Times
Los Angeles Times
The Washington Post
The Wall Street Journal
Use this as a guideline when searching for journalistic sources.
5
Selecting the best information source: a menu
This table can help you determine which sources are best for finding the type of information you need for
your research project.
Source
Newspapers
General
Magazines
Professional
/
Trade
Magazines
Scholarly /
Academic
Journals
Books
Websites
Best For
o Daily local, national,
and international
news, events, and
editorial coverage
o Statistics and
photojournalism
o Record of events and
quotes from experts,
officials, and
witnesses
o Current information
o Short, easy to
understand articles
(including analysis,
interviews, and
opinions, for example)
o Photographs and
illustrations
o Current information
o Specialized articles
related to a particular
discipline or
profession (including
context and analysis)
o Recent research on a
topic
o Focused, peerreviewed articles
written by experts
o Data, statistics, charts,
and graphs
o Bibliographies of other
sources
o Comprehensive
overview of topic
o Background and
historical context
o Bibliographies of other
sources
o News
o Government
information
o Company information
o Alternate points of
view
Intended
Audience
Watch For/
Consider
Use
o Authors usually not
experts
o If a story is breaking,
corrections to initial
reports are likely
o Editorial bias of a
publication
o Newspapers of Record:
New York Times, Wall
Street Journal, LA Times,
Washington Post
General
audience or
those with
specific
interests.
o Authors usually not
experts
o Sources not always cited
o Editorial bias of a
publication
o Use with caution.
Sources like Scientific
American or Rolling
Stone are sound sources
in their fields, for
example.
Professional
organizations
or
professionals /
scholars with
similar
interests
o Articles vary between
short and easy to lengthy
and highly specific
o Sources not always cited
o Has characteristics in
common with both
popular magazines and
scholarly journals
General
audience
Scholars,
researchers,
professionals,
and university
students in a
particular field
Varies,
general
audience
through
scholars
Varies,
general
audience
through
scholars
o Terminology and/or data
may be difficult for
novices to understand
o Authoritative, current
professional sources
o Use whenever possible
o Dated information
o Bias (dependent on
author, publisher, etc.)
o Authoritative, current
sources
o Credibility and accuracy
cannot always be
assured
o Bias (dependent on
author, publisher, etc.)
o Sources not always cited
o Use with extreme
caution. Rely on .edu and
.gov sites.
o Understand the
reputation and bias of the
site.
o Read the “About” page
and google the organization to learn if it is an
advocacy site with a bias.
o Wikipedia is not an
academic source.
Except as noted, document adapted from “Determine if a Source is Scholarly” and “Select the Best Information Source”
U of Illinois Urbana-Champaign http://www.library.illinois.edu/ugl/howdoi/scholarly/
* For the Steve Bannon interview, see “The Beginning of Now.” This American Life. Natl. Public Radio. WNYC, New York.
28 April 2017. Radio. https://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/615/the-beginning-of-now
6
“Consider the Source”
A Resource Guide to Liberal, Conservative and Nonpartisan
Periodicals
30 East Lake Street ∙ Chicago, IL 60601
HWC Library – Room 501
312.553.5760
E
ver heard the saying “consider the source” in response to something that was questioned? Well, the
same advice applies to what you read – consider the source. When conducting research, bear in mind
that periodicals (journals, magazines, newspapers) may have varying points-of-view, biases, and/or
political leanings. Here are some questions to ask when considering using a periodical source:



Is there a bias in the publication or is it non-partisan?
Who is the sponsor (publisher or benefactor) of the publication?
What is the agenda of the sponsor – to simply share information or to influence social or
political change?
Some publications have specific political perspectives and outright state what they are, as in Dissent
Magazine (self-described as “a magazine of the left”) or National Review’s boost of, “we give you the
right view and back it up.” Still, there are other publications that do not clearly state their political
leanings; but over time have been deemed as left- or right-leaning based on such factors as the pointsof-view of their opinion columnists, the make-up of their editorial staff, and/or their endorsements of
politicians. Many newspapers fall into this rather opaque category.
A good rule of thumb to use in determining whether a publication is liberal or conservative has been
provided by Media Research Center’s L. Brent Bozell III: “if the paper never met a conservative cause it
didn’t like, it’s conservative, and if it never met a liberal cause it didn’t like, it’s liberal.”
Outlined in the following pages is an …
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