Evaluation of Resources
Critical Evaluation of Information Sources - (University of Oregon) An overview of evaluation. Links out to web sites, but also to some of their licensed resources that require authentication.
Critically Analyzing Information Sources - (Cornell University's Olin & Uris Libraries)
Critical Thinking - PowerPoints from Intute (a web directory from a consortium of universities)
Tutorial: Intute.ac.uk - Internet Detective
Tutorial: Cardiff U. - Evaluating Information
Evaluating web pages - University of California at Berkeley
For many more links about evaluation, try the Open Directory's entry about website evaluation.
Websites to evaluate
Faux website - Maybe the URL will give this away, but otherwise, it looks "legit."
Faux website - Tree Octopus - There is an amazing range of flora and fauna in the Pacific Northwest.
Faux website - DHMO - Learn about a dangerous and ubiquitous chemical.
http://www.martinlutherking.org/ - MLK - Find out who the sponsors are of this site.
http://www.virusmyth.com - site includes more dubious science
http://ihr.org and http://ihr.org/leaflets/gaschambers.shtml - Holocaust revisionism. This is one of the sites noted in a Washington State Library document "The Dangers of E-Illiteracy."
A way to judge a website is by looking at who links to it. In Google, in the advanced search screen, open up the Date, usage rights, numeric range and more options (click the + sign). There is a box for Find pages that link to the page where you can enter the full web address (URL) of the site you're interested in. The results list will include only sites that link to the site you entered.
Another tip is to look for who owns the site. You can do that with whois.net.
Scholarly Journals Defined
Scholarly journals publish articles after they have been reviewed by authors' peers as a way to ensure quality. People in the same field are usually the intended audience and many will serve as reviewers by reading articles and offering criticism. More on Peer-Review below.
Scholarly v Popular - From Western Carolina University.
Scholarly v Popular (87kb .PDF) - A checklist of what to look for in evaluating the sort of periodical an article appears in. WCC handout.
Journals that submit authors' articles to peer-review get feedback from those in the field about whether an article is worthy of inclusion in a publication. Peer-review is a quality-control measure to ensure that what gets published reflects sound methods and logic, and is a worthy contribution to the "discussion." Often an author has the opportunity to revise an article after the review process. Such journals are called peer-reviewed or refereed journals. Here are descriptions of the process from some peer-reviewed journals:
Journal of Economics and Business
Journal of Aging, Humanities, and the Arts
The Humanities Conference Journals
Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine
Evolutionary Psychology (an open-access journal)
Peer Review a tutorial about the peer review process from North Carolina State University.
Research articles typically follow a certain structure and include certain sections, such as statement of hypotheses, a literature review, a conclusion, and a discussion of implications.
Structure of a Research Article from Northwest Missouri State University.
Primary and Secondary materials
In simple terms, primary materials are first-hand accounts or direct evidence about a topic. These include: Original research, Journal Entries, Diaries, Autobiographies, Interviews, Correspondence (including email), Speeches, Surveys, and Treaties. Also included are creative works, such as Music, Drama, and Films, and objects such as Relics and Artifacts. Secondary materials interpret primary resources, and include literary criticism, political commentary, and evaluations of primary sources.
Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Sources from the University of Maryland. Shows a comparison across several disciplines.
Primary vs Secondary Sources Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC - City University of New York). Examples in the Humanities and Sciences.
What is a Primary Source? University of Nevada, Reno.
These tutorials cover various aspects of research, such as how to narrow a search, or they provide an overview of research approaches and methods. Some may refer to resources specific to the institutions that created the tutorial, but the concepts transfer to any library setting.
IRIS 4-2 Information Literacy Tutorials are a couple dozen quick tutorial modules.
CORE - (Purdue University) A tutorial designed to provide a conceptual understanding of the research process and facilitate the transition to global information access in support of lifelong learning. There are over ten modules including topic exploration, keyword searching, and library catalogs.
UCLA Interactive Tutorial - The Road to Research
Thesis Statements - from Literacy Education Online (LEO) of St. Cloud University, Minnesota
Updated Oct. 17, 2012
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