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HIST 240 The Civil War: Evaluate Sources

Why Evaluate Sources?

Why Evaluate Sources?       

Your academic career and personal reputation depend on it!

  • If you use poor quality sources, your research paper could contain errors, overly-biased information or out-of-date facts
  • Instructors will check your sources to see if you have made good decisions about where you found your information
  • Knowing how to evaluate will help you make better decisions in other areas of your life, such as:
    finding accurate medical information, voting on issues during election time, presenting reliable information to your coworkers in a meeting...etc.

 

Evaluate: Do Your Sources Pass the C.R.A.P. Test?

Evaluate ALL Your Sources

Do they pass the CRAP Test?
If not, find better sources!

 

Questions/Criteria to ask about your source:

Write down answers/evidence in your source:

CURRENCY

  • When was the source published or updated?
  • Is currency of info important for your topic? (Does info change rapidly or frequently?)
  • Is older, historical info important for your topic?

 

RELIABILITY

  • Where do the facts or info come from?
  • Can you find citations or lists of references?
  • Can you verify any of the info in another source?
  • Does it go through a review process before it is published?

 

 

 

AUTHORITY

  • Is the info from an authoritative source?
  • What is considered “authoritative” for your topic?
  • Can you determine the author’s or organization’s qualifications, credentials, expertise, affiliations, experience?

 

PURPOSE

  • Why is this info being published?

to inform?

to teach?

to sell?

to entertain?

to persuade?

other?

  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Can you determine if the publisher/sponsor has political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional or personal biases?
  • For web sources, what is the domain?
    (.edu, .gov, .com, .org, .net, other?)

 

Evaluating Websites

(video produced by the Pollak Library Channel)

Evaluating Relevance

FIRST, imagine that your research topic is: WOMEN'S CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE MILITARY IN THE CIVIL WAR

THEN, Click on the article above and read only the first paragraph (to the left of the photo).  From that limited info, surmise answers (use your creative imaginations!) to the following:

1. What is the IMPACT of military women on the war or the political/social climate?

2. What is the REACTION of people to military women during that time period?

3. What is the SIGNIFICANCE of military women to U.S. History and to our current times?