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:
Student Learning Activity: Evaluate a variety of sources for the ethical and logical uses of evidence.
Skills: The purpose of this activity is to help you practice the following skills essential to your success in school and beyond.
In this activity you will:
: Evaluate a variety of sources for the ethical and logical uses of evidence.
Directions for activity:
WHO: Who is the author?
WHAT: What type of document is it?
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?
|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|