INLS 200: Source evaluations

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In the course of working on any research paper, you use a variety of information sources of a variety of types. You will write 3 evaluations of information sources that you consult during your research. These sources may or may not ultimately yield information that is useful to you in writing your article.

Each source evaluation should be approximately 500-1000 words, and include the following 7 parts:

  1. A complete citation for the source in American Psychological Association (APA) format. APA is the citation format most commonly used in the social sciences. If you are not familiar with this format, look at the APA Publication Manual, 5th edition, which is in nearly every library on campus. This page contains a good overview of APA citation style for print sources. The APA provides a FAQ list and a tutorial.
  2. Strategy for finding the source: How did you find the source? What database, book, bibliography, etc. did you find this source in?
  3. Rationale for selection of the source: Why did you think that the source would be useful for your research, before you actually used it? (Whether or not the source in fact turned out to be useful.)
  4. General evaluation of the source: The authority, scope, intended audience, and currency or timeliness of the source. Select the evaluation criteria that are most appropriate for evaluating this particular source. List each and write a short explanation of how well the source fulfills the criteria.
  5. Example strategies used to search within the source. How did you find information within the source? What were the results of your searches within the source? Keep in mind that many information sources get used repeatedly, so "searching within the source" may be conducted over multiple sessions. Your search strategy should evolve as you work with a source over time.
  6. A brief summary of the information yielded by the source: This follows up your rationale for selecting the source: your rationale for selection is why you thought that the source would be useful before you used it; this section should explain how your opinion of the source changed once you actually used it. What information does the source as a whole contain? What information does the source contain that is relevant to your research question? How does the source help you (or not) to answer your research question?

Post these evaluations to the course site. Give your post the category Source Evaluation.


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