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SOCI 101 (Kang): Evaluating Information

After you've generate some keywords you can start searching for resources. There are some things to keep in mind about any results you get back from searches. We need to ask several questions of any resource before we are ready to use it to back up a point. Who wrote it? Where did they get that information? What are they trying to get do with it? Are they trying to sway you to a certain belief? Who are they targeting? Below are three infographics to help you approach some of those questions.

Information Cycle


This information cycle is especially important if you are working on a topic that is super current. If it has just happened there probably won't be any scholarly articles written about it yet. However, remember that you can broaden out your thought process a little.

For instance, there might not be anything scholarly on a hurricane that has just occurred, but there may be scholarly work on a hurricane that happened last year. Can you combine current news articles and government websites with scholarly work from a similar past situation?

Scholarly or Popular?


You will need to find scholarly articles to serve as a solid base for any arguments you make in your paper. Databases have all sorts in them, not just peer reviewed sources. Use the comparisons above to help you figure out if a particular article is scholarly or not. Note that a peer reviewed journal is only one piece of that. Even scholarly journals have opinion pieces, book  reviews, product reviews, etc.

Evaluating Resources


The CRAAP test is just one method for determining what kind of quality a resource is. It's useful for all resources, but especially so for anything you find outside of the scholarly world.