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First Amendment Debate -- Julia Holcomb ENG 112: Research Process

Created by Elizabeth Dellavedova

Be involved in the process!

Remember the only way to know if the information is going to work for your project is by your evaluation and involvement in the entire process.

Understanding the tools

Make sure you *understand* the resource (aka the "tool") that you are using!

  • What is the resource?
    • A book, website, database, results for a search engine?  Each of these types of resources has a purpose in its existence and built into how it operates.
  • How does the resource work?
    • Google works very differently from a journal database like EbscoHost.  A book works very differently from a newspaper.  Each resource should have certain functions and features to help with efficient use.
  • What does the resource provide?
    • A book can provide facts and opinions.  A newspaper offers news.  A journal offers research and analysis.  A database provides access to periodical articles.  Google offers a proprietary ranking of web pages.  The resource should provide you what you need. 

Understanding the results from a resource

No matter the tool you use, you should always evaluate the results!  Don’t get TRAAPed!

  • Timely -- Is it appropriate for the circumstances or context?  Look for a date and determine what that means.
  • Relevance -- Does the information relate to your need? Who is the intended audience? If you have any doubt, take the time to verify with another source!
  • Authority -- Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor? Are they qualified in some way to provide the information? Does the authority have some form of bias?
  • Accuracy -- Is the information supported by evidence? Has the information been reviewed or refereed? Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
  • Purpose -- Why does the information/resource exist? Is it to inform, teach, sell, entertain or persuade? Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional or personal biases?