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Evaluating Resources

Introduction

Resource materials comes in many different types and formats and your needs will determine what resources you should use.  Knowing how to evaluate all types of resources is important to ensure that you are only using what meets the requirements of your project. 

For example, if you are writing a history paper that requires you to use scholarly journal articles and books but you use information from Wikipedia you will not be meeting the requirements of the project.

However, there are times when you may need to use magazine or news sources, such as, if you are writing a speech about politicians in the media.  This project would require many sources from newspapers, websites, social media, etc.

Types of Publications

Publication

What are They?
 

Examples

Books a work of fiction or nonfiction in a printed or electronic format Popular literature, Encyclopedias, Collections of Research, Bibliographies
Periodicals a magazine or other journal that is issued at regularly recurring intervals Magazines, Newspapers, Academic Journals
Webpages a single, usually hypertext document on the World Wide Web that can incorporate text, graphics, sounds, etc Blogs, Informational, Wikis
Audio/Visual sound and picture elements Movies, Music, Posters
Weird Stuff items that do not fit into other publication categories Sheet Music, Artifacts, Unpublished Diaries and Journals                                                                 

Types of Periodicals

It is especially important to know the differences between periodicals so that you utilize the best source for the project you are working on:

  Magazine Newspaper Academic Journal
Audience General audience, usually with specific interest General but educated audience Researchers, scholars, faculty in the subject area
Purpose Entertainment News Research
Author Written by journalists Written by journalist or investigative reporters Written by experts in the subject area
References Rarely have citations for sources Sometimes cite sources, more often references in articles Always have full citations for sources
Example Sports Illustrated The New York Times Political Science Quarterly

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