English Subtitles for Evaluating Information

Subtitles / Closed Captions - English

When you do research for school or personal use, you need to evaluate your sources to

make sure they are credible. Many things contribute to a source’s credibility including who wrote it, how old it is, what its purpose is, who your audience is, and what you intend to use the information for. Credibility is largely contextual, so outside of the context of a specific assignment or research need, it can be difficult to determine whether something is appropriate or not. However, there are general qualities you can expect to find when you use different types

of sources and questions you can ask about each source to help you decide whether or not it is credible. Those qualities and questions are outlined in the “Evaluating Sources: Finding the Right Source for Your Assignments” handout, which you can click on to download. First, it is helpful to figure out what kind of source you are working with. There are different kinds of books, periodicals, and websites.

You can expect the different kinds of sources to offer different information. For example, you can expect to find short articles written for general audiences in newspapers and longer, more detailed articles written by experts for experts in scholarly journals. Sometimes the type of source will tell you whether the source is credible or not. There are also questions you can ask to decide whether or not your source is credible.

Ask questions about the author and publisher; the purpose (why the article was written) and content of the source; the source’s objectivity, point of view, or bias; and the timeliness and suitability of the source. Let’s practice evaluating sources and deciding whether or not they are credible. Pretend you are doing a research project for a psychology class. Your instructor told you that you could use any source as long as it is credible.

Use the evaluation criteria on this worksheet to decide whether or not each of your three sources is credible. You can click on the worksheet to download a copy. You can also click on the three sources on the screen to download them. As you evaluate your sources, it may be helpful to determine what type of source you are evaluating. Consult the “Types of Sources” section of your “Evaluating Sources: Finding the

Right Source for Your Assignment” handout for more information about each type of source. Wait to rank your sources in the gray box near the bottom of your worksheet until you are given further instructions. Pause the video while you evaluate your sources, and press play when you are ready to go on. Now that you’ve had time to evaluate your sources, let’s say that you need to complete another psychology assignment on the same topic, but this time your instructor told you that you can only cite scholarly sources.

Will you be able to use the same sources you used for your first assignment? Well, it depends. Keep in mind that all scholarly sources are credible, but not all credible sources are scholarly. Scholarly sources tend to be written by experts for experts. They are longer, go into more detail, and use more discipline specific language.

They cite sources formally, and there usually aren’t a lot of pictures or visual design elements on the page. Use the “How can I tell if my source is scholarly or popular?” chart to help you decide if your source is scholarly or a credible but popular source. Once you’ve decided, use the gray box at the bottom of your worksheet to rank your sources with 3 being the least scholarly and 1 being the most scholarly.

Pause the video until you’ve ranked your sources and are ready to go on. Let’s talk about the sources you looked at. I found the first source, “Beyond Versus” to be credible, but of limited usefulness. It is a book review published in a scholarly journal, Review of Metaphysics. The main purpose of this source is to help readers decide whether or not to read or purchase a copy of the book being reviewed.

Most of the time, you won’t be able to cite book reviews for your assignments. If you are interested in the book being reviewed, you would need to get a copy, read it, and cite the book directly. The second source, “What is Nature vs. Nurture?” is an article published on about.com. It lists the author and the date that it was last updated. I looked at the “About Us” section of the website, and learned that about.com provides

articles written by experts for a general audience, so it is credible, but not scholarly. The third source, “The Role of Parenting,” was written by Seth D. Pollak in 2012. He works at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Psychology department, and this article is part of a National Institute of Mental Health grant project. It is long and cites sources formally in-text and on a reference page. It goes into quite a bit of depth on the topic.

This source is credible and scholarly. So, which source is the most scholarly? I believe it is “The Role of Parenting.” It is a typical scholarly article published in an academic journal. The other two are not scholarly. “Beyond Versus” was published in an academic journal for experts, so I ranked it 2nd, but

its purpose is to critique a book and is held to different standards than articles published in scholarly journals. The least scholarly is “What is Nature vs. Nurture?” It is credible, but it‘s an overview written for a general audience, so it wouldn’t meet my instructor’s criteria of using scholarly sources for the 2nd assignment. As you do your research, you will find many types of sources.

Some may be credible while others aren’t, and some may be scholarly while others aren’t. Taking time to evaluate your sources based on their credibility and scholarliness can be an effective way to identify the best sources rather than settling for the first source you find. If you have questions about evaluating your sources, please ask a librarian. We’re here to help.

For more Library tips and tricks and to stay up to date on what’s new around the Library, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Happy searching.

Video Description

When you do research for school or personal use, you need to evaluate your sources to make sure they are credible. Watch this video to learn how to find the best sources for your assignments.
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