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Essay: Source Evaluation
Essay two is a Source Evaluation. You need to take one of the sources you are considering using in your research paper (Essay 3) and evaluate it to see if it holds up as a credible and reputable source. The following list applies to print sources (books, magazines, journals, newspapers and Electronic Databases like Proquest). You can only use a print source for this assignment.
In your introduction you will explain what your research topic is briefly being as specific as possible about what it is you intend to prove. Then you will introduce the source that you intend to evaluate (For example: “One source I’m considering for my research paper is a book titled War and Victory by Robert S. Thompson.” Then you will end the introduction with a sentence that explains that you need to evaluate the source in order to establish that it is a credible source that can be used in your research paper.
You will follow the book’s list of evaluation criteria from Chapter 8, section B. The first one is Author’s Credentials. That involves proving through research that the authors are credible and worthy of being put in your paper. You can verify their credibility through education (what degree do they have and where did they get it), Affiliations (Do they belong to any prestigious groups or organization), or publication (What other articles or books have they published).
The next section is Appropriate Focus. It is about comparing the aspect of the issue that you will be looking at and comparing it to the aspect of the issue that the source is looking at. Not just that they are both about the same big general topic, but are they both focused on the same narrow point that you will be making in your research paper. Explain your focus. Explain their focus, and then explain how well they compare. If you have a book, only a chapter or section may match, but that may be enough to be useful
Sufficient Coverage is where you evaluate whether the source goes into enough detail and provides enough quality information to be useful to your research. Some sources have very little information while some have page after page. What kind is yours? In this section you will also be required to quote from the source to show the reader on bit of information you’ve found in this source that you intend using in your final research paper.
The next section is either Reputable Publisher or Respected Periodical. You will only do one of these. If you have a book, you will do research on the publishing house to be sure it is a reputable company. You can do this by going to the webpage of the publishing house and looking at when they were founded, what kind of books they publish and have they won any awards for their publications. If you have a periodical (magazine/journal/newspaper) then you would research the reputation and history of the publication. You would also look at the founding date, the type of material produced, and the awards won along with things like the size of the staff, reputation of contributors, what organization runs the publication, etc. Anything you can use to prove it is reputable. You can make up for a weak author with an excellent publisher.
Publication Date is about whether your source is the type that needs the most recent information and if this source is recent enough to be useful. A source may pass everything else, but if it fails badly here it might be useful. You might have a topic where time isn’t so important. Explain that and give us the publication date.
Supplementary Materials is the next aspect to evaluate. Your book gives a long list of what is considered to be supplementary materials. Check and see if any are in your book/article and explain which ones are present in this section. If there are no supplementary materials, explain that and say whether you think it hurts the source’s credibility much.
Writing Style is simply how clean and understandable the source’s author is. Do they use easy to understand vocabulary, nice examples and explain complicated ideas clearly? Or do they use highly technical language or complex vocabulary, explain nothing and make life difficult for their reader. In this section you will provide your second quote from the source. This time it is simply to show the writer a small example of the writer’s style to support your claims.
Your conclusion should review all these tests and talk about which one it passed and which it failed. You should explain whether you intend to use it in your Essay 3: Research Paper based on what you learned through this evaluation.
Work Cited Page. Your MLA work cited page will contain the source you are evaluating and any sources you used to establish the credibility of the author or publisher/periodical. There should really be three citations at the most. Use the sample essay at the end of Chapter 14 and follow the format of the Works Cited page you see on pages 206 and 207.
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