"The set of skills needed to find, retrieve, analyze, and use information. . . . Students must demonstrate competencies in formulating research questions and in their ability to use information as well as an understanding of ethical and legal issues surrounding information. This requires a campus culture of collaboration and focus on student learning."
A compelling research question provides structure to research. Your thesis statement can be thought of as the one sentence answer to this question; the rest of your paper or project is an explanation of that answer. A good research question:
Your research question will help you determine what sources to use.
Inclination, leaning, prejudice, predisposition
A biased source is one in which the creator has a view of the issue at hand that had an effect on how they created the source. From the synonyms above, you can see that this can be to a small or large degree. Everyone has biases, and someone with a bias can still write a worthwhile source, but it is up to you to consider how much of a bias is present. Be aware of the biases inherent when an organization has a legislative agenda or is trying to sell something.
Peer review is a process scholarly articles go through before they are published. Scholarly articles are sent to other experts in the field (peers) to ensure that they contain high-quality, original research important to the field. This is a measure of quality control other types of literature don't go through.
If you can't tell whether or not a journal is peer-reviewed, check Ulrichsweb.
Use the criteria below to help you evaluate a source. As you do, remember:
Credible: Trustworthy, reliable.
Credible sources are generally understood to be accurate and reliable sources of information, free from unfair bias.
Quiz time! Who do you think would be best at discovering whether or not something from the internet is credible?
In a 2017 study about evaluating online information, two researchers sought to answer this question. They found that while most college students grew up using the internet and faculty members were experts in their fields, professional fact checkers were able to analyze the credibility of an online resource with greater accuracy and more speed. That is because, unlike the students and professors, they utilized lateral reading.
Lateral reading: Instead of staying with one website or article, you might need to jump around a bit. Open multiple tabs in your browser to follow links found within the source and do supplemental searches on names, organizations or topics you find. These additional perspectives will help you to evaluate the original article and can end up saving you time.
Things to remember:
Wineburg, Sam and McGrew, Sarah. Lateral Reading: Reading Less and Learning More When Evaluating Digital Information (October 6, 2017). Stanford History Education Group Working Paper No. 2017-A1. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3048994
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