evaluate sources on free college to everyone
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Week 5 Source Evaluation Worksheet
First read the notes that begin on p. 3 of this handout and the table that follows. Then, complete
the analysis for each of your sources.
Part 1: Annotation
Using APA format, identify the source and write a concise annotation that summarizes the central
theme and scope of the book or article. A sample annotation can be found in the directions for
this assignment.

Annotation 1
Annotation 2
(Continue for as many annotations as you have developed)
Example: Annotation 1
Waite, L. J., Goldschneider, F. K., & Witsberger, C. (1986). Nonfamily living and t he
erosion of traditional family orientations among young adults. American Sociological
Review, 51, 541-554.
The authors, researchers at the Rand Corporation and Brown University, use data from
the National Longitudinal Surveys of Young Women and Young Men to test their
hypothesis that nonfamily living by young adults alters their attitudes, values, plans, and
expectations, moving them away from their belief in traditional sex roles. They find their
hypothesis strongly supported in young females, while the effects were fewer in studies
of young males. Increasing the time away from parents before marrying increased
individualism, self-sufficiency, and changes in attitudes about families. In contrast, an
earlier study by Williams cited below shows no significant gender differences in sex role
attitudes as a result of nonfamily living
Part 2: Source Evaluation
Use the following criteria to evaluate each source:
a. How current is this the source you are using? (If not current – explain why information
is still applicable)
Source 1
Source 2
(Continue for as many sources as you have developed)
Example 2a
2a. While this source is not current, it has formed the basis for numerous follow-up
studies and it frequently cited in the literature; it has both historical value and also serves
as a base-point for tracking changing attitudes.
b. How authoritative, credible, reliable? (For example: recognized expert; peer-reviewed
journal; trusted site such as .edu, .gov, .mil; experienced and knowledgeable in the field;
information consistent across several sources, etc.)
Source 1
Source 2
(Continue for as many sources as you have developed)
Example 2b
2b. This is a scholarly source; the source is credible, reliable and authoritative. The
authors were experts in their fields, published their study in a peer-reviewed journal, and
the study has held up under rigorous scrutiny by other experts in the field.
c. Briefly state specifically how this source provides evidence that strongly supports your
conclusion. For example, “the article discusses significant evidence that this diet provides
all essential nutrients and supports my view that the diet is healthy” “this study shows that
this diet is deficient in vitamin D and supports my point that this diet is not healthy” “this
survey revealed that obesity is on a rapid rise among all demographic groups and supports
my view that obesity is epidemic”
Source 1
Source 2
(Continue for as many sources as you have developed)
Example 2c
2c. This source strongly supports my thesis that the current pattern of young adults
remaining with family because they cannot afford independent living due to student loan
obligations is having a negative effect on young adults developing self-sufficiency and
individualism.
d. If the information is “popular” or if it is from a blog, from a marketing site, or is
persuasive in nature (i.e., an editorial or opinion piece, or a publication of a special interest
group such as a trade organization, union, etc.) explain why you are using the source and
why you cannot use a more substantive or scholarly source.
Source 1
Source 2
(Continue for as many sources as you have developed)

Example 2d
2d. This source is popular; it is used to show how public opinion was influenced by
advertising.
Notes: Evaluating Sources

1. In 2b, rate your journal and periodical sources (whether you are looking at hard copy or
on-line) as scholarly, substantive or popular. The Table “Distinguishing between
Scholarly and Non-scholarly Periodicals” will work for evaluating either print or on-line
journals, newspapers, and periodicals.
2. Beware of bias in any specific article. Determine if the source is authoritative, credible,
reliable, current and unbiased. (If not current, then information can be rated “valid,
regardless of age,” — i.e., a 1999 web-based article on the American Civil War is not
“current,” but can be “valid regardless of age.”) All sources should be authoritative,
credible, reliable, current and unbiased. If bias is found, state if bias may or may not
affect the credibility and reliability of the information you will use and how you will
compensate for possible bias.
3. For websites, generally speaking, .gov and .mil sites are acceptable sources in academic
papers. Most .edu websites will be acceptable, but analyze under the criteria in 2 above.
4. If the website is a .com, .org or .biz website, you must further evaluate for authority,
reliability and credibility. Never use a .com, .org or .biz site without evaluating across
these criteria. Be especially careful about blogs – generally speaking, don’t use them.
Many newspaper and magazines also publish to websites; evaluate those just as you
would a journal or periodical.
a. Authoritative
• Who are the author(s)?
• Are they recognized experts in their field? – check the column or
google the author’s name?
• What is the level of education of the author? Experience? Knowledge of
the subject?
• Is the information at a level appropriate to an upper-level academic paper?
b. Credible
• How does the information compare to other, similar information? Always
look for more than one source – verify that all points of view are
represented
c. Reliable
• Is it timely?
• Does it come from a trusted source?
Distinguishing Between Scholarly and Non-Scholarly Publications
SCHOLARLY SUBSTANTIVE POPULAR
Examples American Journal of
Nursing
JAMA
New England Journal of
Medicine
American Journal of
Kidney Diseases
National Geographic
Psychology Today
NY Times
The Atlantic
Time
Vanity Fair
Huffington Post
USA Today
Purpose
& Use
• Knowledge
dissemination
• Reports of original
research
• in-depth topic
analysis
• Statistical information
• For profit
• Current events and
news
• Introduces a subject
• Interviews
• Analysis and opinion
• For profit
• Current events and
news
• Overview of topic
• Entertainment
• Sell products
Audience • Reader knows the
field (e.g., specialists)
• General audience • General audience
Authors • Researchers
• Academics
• Scholars
• Journalists
• Freelance writers
• Specialists or
scholars
• Freelance writers
• Staff writers
• Journalists
Content
&
Language
• Description of
research methods
with conclusions
• Objective
• Assumes knowledge
of language and
specialist jargon
• Article may have a
specific structure
• Usually peer-
reviewed
• Explanation of a
subject
• Interpretation of a
research article
• May or may not be
objective
• Use of non-technical
vocabulary
• Shorter articles than
in scholarly
publications
• May be biased
toward a particular
point of view
• Less depth
• Everyday language
• Often written like a
story
Publisher
s
• Professional
organizations
• University or
scholarly presses
• Research institutions
• Commercial entities
• Trade and
professional
organizations
• Commercial entities
• Trade organizations
Sources • Includes bibliography
and/or notes
• Includes extensive
citation of sources
• Includes author
credentials
• Sometimes includes
sources
• May / may not
include author
credentials
• Rarely includes
citations of sources
• Rarely includes
author credentials
Graphics • Includes graphs,
charts, and tables
• Advertising is very
rare
• Illustrated, often with
photographs
• Advertising is
present
• Heavily illustrated
• Lots of advertising




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