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SCLA 102: Transformative Texts, Critical Thinking and Communication II: Modern World

This is a research guide to help you conduct research for SCLA 102 with Dr. Catalano

Why Evaluate Your Sources?

Each time you find a new source, you will need to determine if it is credible and relevant to your research assignment and the particular argument or claim you are trying to make. We call this process of determining the credibility and usefulness of a source "evaluating." There is no one perfect step-by-step process for evaluating sources, but one of the best ways to think about evaluating is by investigating a source for a couple of things: 1. Authority: exploring the origins of a source to make sure the author(s) and publisher have requisite expertise to be credible on the topic. Things to check: Does the author or publisher publish regularly in this area? Do they have a lot of subject expertise? What is the purpose of the publisher? 2. Accuracy: exploring a source for validity and completeness. Things to check: Are arguments, facts, claims corroborated by other sources? Is it missing important information? Is it citing other work?  3. Perspective or Objectivity: exploring a source to determine the purpose and perspective of the author, publisher, and source. What perspective does the author or publisher bring? What is their purpose or intention? Is there bias?

For more information and some specific questions you can ask yourself about the authority, accuracy, and perspective of a source, watch this video on How to Evaluate Sources [08:17].