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Revolution, Romanticism, and Realism: Evaluating Information

This course surveys the history of European and American art made between approximately 1785 and 1860.

What information sources do I use in [FYS course]?

Information sources for this course can include books, popular magazines, newspapers, web sites, and more. Your professor may also require you to use scholarly articles. Scholarly, or peer reviewed, articles are written by experts in academic and professional fields, and often contain highly specialized information in specific areas of research. 

Tip: Many of our databases, including Academic Search Complete, allow you to refine your search to limit results to scholarly (also called peer-reviewed or academic) articles. 

[in the table below, feel free to edit for your FYS topic; include a relevant example of each and link to the article for comparison.]

Popular source example Scholarly source example Professional or Trade source example
Current events, general interests Research and analysis from the field Business or industry information
    Dobson, Louise.
   "Canine Touch."
   Psychology Today
   39.3 (2006): 26.
   Cohen, Judy.
   "Pit Bull Panic."
   Journal of Popular
   Culture

   36.2 (2002):   
   285-317.

     Frosek, Rose.
    "What is it about
      Pit_Bulls?"
   
Modern Dog.

 

 

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The CRAAP Test can help you determine if a source is appropriate for your research

Use the following criteria to evaluate the information you find:

Currency: the timeliness of the information

Relevance: the importance of the information for your needs

Authority: the source of the information

Accuracy: the reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content

Purpose: the reason the information exists

Currency: the timeliness of the information

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Is the information current or out-of date for your topic?
  • Are the links functional?

Relevance: the importance of the information for your needs

  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)?
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?
  • Would you be comfortable using this source for a research paper?

Authority: the source of the information

  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • Are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?
  • What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?
  • What are the author's qualifications to write on the topic?
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or e-mail address?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?
    •      examples: .com (commercial), .edu (educational), .gov (U.S. government), .org (nonprofit organization), or .net (network)

Accuracy: the reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content

  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
  • Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
  • Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?

Purpose: the reason the information exists

  • What is the purpose of the information? to inform? teach? sell? entertain? persuade?
  • Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Is the information fact? opinion? propaganda?
  • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?

Try your new knowledge by taking this short quiz!  Pretend your research question is "What are the social benefits and liabilities for reducing welfare program funding in Texas?"

Which database collection would be more likely to point you to articles relevant to your topic?
Sociological Abstracts: 2 votes (100%)
Biological Abstracts: 0 votes (0%)
Total Votes: 2
Which source would likely be more authoritative on your topic?
a peer-reviewed article published in Federal Programs & Review: 2 votes (100%)
an article published in Time Magazine: 0 votes (0%)
Total Votes: 2
Which source is more likely to be accurate?
employment statistics from a newsletter published by a grassroots organization opposed to welfare programs: 0 votes (0%)
statistics published on The Dept of Health and Human Services web site: 2 votes (100%)
Total Votes: 2

Which database collection would be more likely to point you to articles relevant to your topic? Sociological Abstracts

  • Sociological Abstracts indexes journals that focus on social consequences of human behavior, which is more relevant to your topic.Biological Abstracts indexes journals in the life sciences, which would not likely cover social aspects of your topic.

Which source would likely be more authoritative on your topic? Peer-Reviewed Journal

  • An article in a Peer-Reviewed Journal is more likely to have been written by an expert and will have been evaluated by other experts before it is published. Writers for Time Magazine are not likely to have expertise in social issues surrounding welfare programs.

Which source is more likely to be accurate? U.S. government

  • The U.S. government is considered a reliable source for statistics. You can identify a government web site by the ".gov" at the end of the URL. A grass roots organization opposed to welfare programs may use legitimate statistics but exclude those that don't support a specific agenda.

 

question and answer explanation courtesy of Notre Dame Library

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Scholarly v. Popular Video

Peer Review - What is it and how do I find out?

Click on Advanced Search. Scroll down to see your options and select peer-reviewed.

After searching for your topic in WorldCat Local, you will want to select peer-reviewed:

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