When choosing a document to support our writing, we must bring a certain amount of skepticism and always be questioning the value of our sources. Not all sources are created equal and not all sources are worthy to be included in our work.
So how do we know what documents are worthy and valuable and which ones might be questionable in support of our arguments?
We start by:
S. 1. Defining types of authority such as subject expertise, social position, or special experience;
: Evaluate a variety of sources for the ethical and logical uses of evidence using the Five W's Method.
ESSAY TOPIC: The Women's Rights Movement and the Role of the Women's March of 2017
Directions for activity:
WHO: Who is the author?
WHAT: What type of document is it?
Primary sources are records that provide first-hand testimony or evidence of an event, action, topic, or time period. Primary sources are usually created by individuals who directly experience an event or topic, and record their experience through photographs, videos, memoirs, correspondence, oral histories, or autobiographies.
Common Examples of PRIMARY Sources:
Letters, diaries, memoirs, speeches, interviews, photographs, notes, subject files, oral histories, autobiographies, travelogues, pamphlets, newspapers, newsletters, brochures, government documents including hearings, reports and statistical data, military service records, manuscripts, archival materials, artifacts, architectural plans, artistic works, works of fiction, music scores, and sound recordings.
Secondary sources summarize, interpret, analyze, or comment on information found in primary sources. Secondary sources are usually written by individuals who did not experience firsthand the events about which they are writing.
Common Examples of SECONDARY Sources:
Biographies, monographs, journal articles, dissertations, theses, essays and encyclopedia articles.
WHEN: When was the information published and/or updated?
WHERE: Where was the information published?
WHY: Why was the document created?
HOW: How was it written? How was it produced?
Credit:University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Undergraduate Library. https://www.library.illinois.edu/ugl/howdoi/informationcycle/#Text Information Cycle
|How can I tell the difference?||
|Length||Longer articles, providing
in-depth analysis of topics
|Shorter articles, providing
broader overviews of topics
|Authorship||Author usually an expert or specialist in the field, name and credentials always provided||Author usually a staff writer or a journalist, name and credentials may be provided|
|Language/Audience||Written in the jargon of the field for scholarly readers (professors, researchers or students)||Written in non-technical language
for anyone to understand
|Format/Structure||Articles usually more structured,
may include these sections: abstract, literature review, methodology, results, conclusion, bibliography
|Articles do not necessarily follow a specific format or structure|
|Special Features||Illustrations that support the text, such as tables of statistics, graphs, maps, or photographs||Illustrations with glossy or color photographs, usually for advertising purposes|
|Editors||Articles usually reviewed and critically evaluated by a board of experts in the field
|Articles are not evaluated by experts in the field, but by editors on staff|
|Credits||A bibliography (works cited) and/or footnotes are always provided to document research thoroughly||A bibliography (works cited) is usually not provided, although names of reports or references may be mentioned in the text|