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This is a generic guide to help students with research projects and to learn how to navigate through the wonderful collection of Library resources.

Beyond the Truthiness: Information as a Conversation

"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, October 17, 2005, The Colbert Report

Lee, Samantha and Shana Lebowitz. "20 cognitive biases that screw up your decisions." Business Insider, 26 Aug. 2015, 12:38, www.businessinsider.com/cognitive-biases-that-affect-decisions-2015-8.

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?
  •  

Annotated Bibliography

An Annotated Bibliography is a list of sources, formatted in MLA, APA, or Chicago style, where each source is followed by a paragraph that talks about the source. This paragraph is the "annotation" for that article.  

In your annotations, provide a brief description and an evaluation of the source. The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited

Other things an annotation should include:

  • The main idea: the research question or working thesis of the source will help you link the topic to your research.
  • Information and evidence: what support is used in the source to back up the argument?
  • Evaluation of the source: assess the information, is it a credible to use in your research?
  • Should you use it?

The annotation must be written in your own words. This is a great exercise to assess if you understood what you read. What did you learn and process from the material? It will also help you avoid plagiarizing the information. 


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