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SOCI 201: Evaluating Information

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

Infographic of the Information cycle: Day of is Television, Radio, and Internet; Day after is Newspapers; Week after is popular magazines; Months after is scholarly journals; Year after is books and government publications; years after is reference books


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.

Obviously, this is especially relevant for your assignment. It is unlikely there will be many scholarly articles written about COVID-19. But you may be able to find a scholarly piece about how a government handled a different pandemic, or about the difficulties associated with accessing healthcare based on your socio-economic status, etc. Those types of sources can provide a good scholarly base for the current new articles that are the bulk of your paper.

News Sources

Infogrphic rating various well known news sources by complexity and neutrality
Source: www.adfontesmedia.com/the-reasoning-and-methodology-behind-the-chart/


This is just one person's version of evaluating newspapers. Which titles are where is less important than how she approached this. Take a look at the axes. It is important to note that not only do we need to pay attention to the political bias, but also how complex the publication is. Something extremely simplistic or sensational can be just as misleading as a political bias.

Evaluating Resources


The CRAAP test is just one method for determining what kind of quality a resource is. It will be particularly necessary to apply this sort of process to any newspapers or websites you find. Don't be afraid to explore the About Me sections of online news sources. Who is this source? Who is funding it/owns it? Are they citing outside sources? Do they only cite their own publications or others? Is the tone especially splashy?