Skip to main content

POM CHEM 1B (SP 2017)

Introduction

When writing your papers, it is necessary to evaluate every source (book, article, website, etc...) to ensure it is reliable and authoritative. These are some of the questions you can ask yourself about each source to see if it is indeed authoritative and citable.

Questions to ask as you evaluate sources

These steps are designed to help you determine if a source (journal article, book, website, etc.) is appropriate for use in your research paper.

First off: How do you intend to use this source?

  • Do you plan to cite this source as reputable information?
  • Do you plan to critique this source as an example of bias about your topic?
  • Etc. Your use will determine what answers you hope to get from the following questions.

Who is the author?

  • What are the author's credentials, educational background, area of expertise, etc.?
  • Have other scholars cited this author's work?
  • Did your professor or another expert recommend this author's work?

Why was the source written?

  • Is the information in it fact, opinion or propaganda?
  • Does the author want people who read it to take some action? For instance, are you being persuaded to buy something or to vote for something?
  • Is the author's point of view objective and impartial? Can you detect a bias?

How was it written?

  • Does the author tell how facts were gathered? Were they gathered from unbiased sources?
  • Is there any documentation offered, for instance, do you find a bibliography or other "credits"?

Why was it posted or published?

  • Who is hosting this website or publishing this book or journal?
  • What do you know about the company or group? Do they have a bias?

Is it peer reviewed?

Scholarly vs. Popular Articles

Scholarly and Popular Articles

 

Scholarly Article

 

Popular Article

 

research article

 

general interest article

 

written for a specialized audience

 

written for a general audience

 

author is an expert, such as a professor

 

author is a journalist

 

peer reviewed (usually)

 

not peer reviewed

 

includes bibliography

 

no bibliography

 

Articles published in:

 

    Personality and Social  

   Psychology Review

    

       Film Quarterly

 

Modern Language Quarterly

 

Articles published in:

 

Time

 

Rolling Stone

 

Los Angeles Times