Sources Worksheet by reCP2H

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									                       Sources Worksheet

Directions: Fill in the blanks as we discuss the different types of
sources and how to determine whether or not they are valid.

By now you should have begun thinking about your topic and the
kinds of things you might like to include in your paper. Now you
need to figure out how to find the information. Not all
information that is presented as factual is accurate. How can you
determine whether or not the information you have gathered is
correct?

There are two basic kinds of sources. Information that comes
from an original text, document, interview, speech or letter is a
primary source. Other examples of primary sources include works
of fiction (stories, poems, novels, etc.) and statistical tables and
graphs. Anything that is not original is considered a secondary
source. Secondary sources include biographies or comments made
by a critic on a book or report. Make sure you include at lease one
primary source in your paper. This lets the reader know that you
understand what you are writing about.

So how can you evaluate a source for its validity? First check the
date. Depending on your topic, an article written in 1978 may not
be as accurate as an article written in 2008. Schools change their
curriculum from year to year, but information about the school’s
history may still be valid. Next, check the author. Is he or she an
authority on the occupation you are researching? Do they still
work in the field? Is their science or statistics to back up what
the author is saying? Does he use specific examples?

These can be used with both print and electronic resources. But
how do determine the different types of websites and which will
be the most reliable? First, look at what comes after the dot.
There are various different kinds of websites and some are
better than others. A website that ends in .edu means that a
school runs the website. These are traditionally the most reliable
sites. That doesn’t mean that something may not be wrong, but it
is more uncommon. Sites that end in .com or .net generally belong
to businesses. These are least reliable site, since the company
has an interest in what the site says and can control the content.
Sites that end in .org are run by an organization. The information
on these sites are often valid, but be careful. Some organizations
are political and they are trying to make you think the way they
do. Finally, sites that end in .gov are run by the government. Most
of the time they are reliable, but they may not be updated as
quickly as they should, so make sure you verify the information.

Great, I just told you that .gov sites are usually reliable but now
you have to verify the information. How do you do that? The
simplest way is to check other websites. If three or more
websites say the same thing, chances are the information is
accurate.

What should you do if you are still not sure the information is
correct? Don’t use it! When in doubt, throw it out.

								
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