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The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

LSC-Kingwood Common Read for 2016 -2018

Databases

Information Influences the Conversation

At this point, you should be familiar with the topic and are ready to dive in deeper to find answers to your research question and/or resources to support your thesis statement (and the various points in your argument). Before you take the keywords you've been listing, you should be conscious that there are many forms of information. Information found may have different purposes and logic. 

Part of the research process is to identify the type of information that is appropriate for your audience and the topic. As this is an academic project, you are expected to use academic-level of information, or what we call scholarly sources. They are generally books published by university press and articles published in academic and professional journals. They typically go through a rigorous editorial process, known as peer-review. 

Watch the videos embedded in this box for more information about the differences in information, the editorial process for scholarly information, ways to evaluate information, and identifying biases.

"And that brings us to tonight's word: Truthiness. Now I'm sure some of the word-police, the "wordanistas" over at Webster’s, are gonna say, "Hey, that's not a word!" Well, anybody who knows me knows that I am no fan of dictionaries or reference books. They're elitist. Constantly telling us what is or isn't true, what did or didn't happen...”

– Stephen Colbert

The chart below are points to consider when evaluating sources of information. Click on the CAPOW document icon to download the handout.

Currency

  • What is the publication date or last date updated?
  • Is the content timely, useful, and valid for your information need?

 

Authorship

 

 

 

  • Who wrote the content?
  • What makes that individual author or organization qualified to write it? What other information about the author is included?
  • Who sponsored the content?

 

Purpose

 

 

  • Is the purpose of the content to inform, to entertain, or to promote a product or service? 
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Does the information seem credible? If so, can you check the information against another resource (i.e. book, journal article, newspaper, etc.) for credibility?

 

Objectivity

 

  • Is content biased?
  • Are opinions balanced or does the author have an agenda?
  • How does the bias influence the information?

 

Writing Style

 

 

 

  • Does the information contain a bibliography, references, or a comprehensive list of sources supporting its theme, topic, or agenda?
  • Is content presented at an appropriate level for an academic research paper?
  • Does the supporting information fit your research need?
  • Is the work complete, or is it a summary of other work?

The address identifying a specific site on the Internet. In the United States, domain names usually consist of three parts separated by the period (full stop). In the address www.thisuniversity.edu, the first part (www) indicates the protocol or language used in accessing the address, the second part (.thisuniversity) represents the name of the institution or organization hosting the site, and the last part (.edu) is a top level domain code indicating type of entity serving as network host. For the United States, the six basic top level domain codes are:

 .com   Commercial enterprise
 .edu  Educational institution
 .gov  Government agency
 .mil  Military installation
 .net  Network (generally used by companies directly responsible for the internet's infrastructure)
 .org  Nonprofit organization
 .uk  Example of a country code; from the United Kingdom
 

While domains are a good starting place, you still want to evaluate the information on the website. Other places to get hints for the purpose and objectivity of a website can be found:

  • On their About page. It will give you an idea about the author(s) and the editorial process.
  • Next to the copyright year. You may find listed a larger company that owns and influences the information shared on the website.
  • Do some follow up research on the information, the website, the author, and/or the company to double check the facts.

Take a look at the websites below, would you use them in your research?

Created by Samantha Lee, Business Insider.


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