You've searched various resources and have a set of sources that might be useful. In order to select the most reliable and accurate sources for your assignment, you'll need to spend some time evaluating them for how they fit with your thesis statement/question. The resources on this page can help you consider 1) how a source could be incorporated in your argument 2) how reliable and credible the source is and 3) which information will be most useful from the source.
"How do I decide which sources to use and why?"
As you locate sources, you should be evaluating them for how they can answer questions or support your arguments.
Types of Information
Background: General information to provide context to your topic
"Disinformation become a wide-spread problem when..."
Critical: Research and perspectives that go against your thesis
"Social media platforms hold no responsibility for disinformation..."
Supportive: Research and perspectives that support your thesis
"Policies should be created regarding disinformation & include..."
Evaluating Online Sources
An important thing to keep in mind is that sources are not "good" or "bad" but exist within a certain context and can be appropriate or inappropriate for your need - especially an academic paper.
Ask these questions to determine if sources will be P.R.O.V.E.N. useful & appropriate for your needs:
P.R.O.V.E.N. Source Evaluation by Ellen Carey (6/18/18) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
"Can't I just look at the About Us page of a website?"
As sources have become more advanced and we seek more of our information on the internet, we must look for more context to understand what a source is about. Staying on a website to evaluate it may not provide the best information for understanding that source. Lateral reading helps us look deeper!
"Do I have to read ALL of these articles?"
Many scholarly articles can be more than 10 pages long. But you don't have to read them from start to finish to determine if and how they could be useful for your information needs.
Is this article scholarly?
If you need scholarly articles to meet the requirement of your assignment or if they are the best sources for your information need, you can use database features to help locate them effectively.
1. Use the sorting function for Peer-Reviewed to limit to articles that go through that scholarly process.
2. Or check the box for Academic Journals to limit to both peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed articles.
3. Within the search results, you will see icons with source types that help indicate whether they are Academic Journals.
Organizing & Reviewing Your Research
1. Before you start searching, decide how you'll store your articles:
2. Don't read every source word for word right away. Read the Abstract, Intro, and Conclusion (and if you need more, the Discussion) to determine if it's relevant first.
3. Once you have a set of potentially relevant sources, do a thorough reading. Each person may have a unique way to digest content. Some ways include:
4. When you've decided to use a source for your paper (or sooner!), collect the citation and add it to your Research Log or source list.
"When will I have enough sources?"
1. Does your assignment have a specific number of required sources? Check your assignment for requirements.
2. Have you answered all of the questions related to your thesis statement?
3. You've answered all your questions AND you're seeing the same concepts, themes, and answers over and over in your results. If you are using a Research Log (see Step 3), you can input your sources and see this more clearly.
At this point in your research process, you probably have a lot of ideas and a lot of sources and have maybe even written a bit of your paper, or an outline, to get some notes down. If you need help putting it all together, the Library and the Writing Center are here to assist you. You can make appointments or just stop at the Reference Desk in the Library or during Drop-In Hours at the Learning Commons.