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Library Research Paper Sample Topics For An Evaluation

Some things to consider in evaluating the quality of research sources:

Currency: the timeliness of the information

  • How recent is the information?
  • Can you locate a date when the page(s) were written/created/updated?
  • Based in your topic, is it current enough?

Reliability: importance of the information

  • What kind of information is included in the website?
  • Is the content primarily fact, or opinion? Is the information balanced, or biased?
  • Does the author provide references for quotations and data?
  • If there are links, do they work?

Authority: the source of the information

  • Can you determine who the author/creator is? is there a way to contact them?
  • What are their credentials (education, affiliation, experience, etc.)?
  • Who is the publisher or sponsor of the site? Are they reputable?

Accuracy: the reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the information

  • Is it accurate? Is it supported by evidence?
  • Is the information balanced or biased?
  • Was it peer-reviewed?
  • Can you verify the information from another reliable source?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, or typographical errors?
  • Can you determine who the author/creator is? is there a way to contact them?

Purpose: the reason the information exists

  • What's the intent of the website (to persuade, to sell you something, etc.)?
  • What is the domain (.edu, .org, .com, etc.)? 
  • Are there ads on the website?
  • How do they relate to the topic being covered (e.g., an ad for ammunition next to an article about firearms legislation)?
  • Is the author presenting fact, or opinion? Who might benefit from a reader believing this website?
  • Based on the writing style, who is the intended audience?


The CRAAP Test was developed by librarians at California State University, Chico.

Teaching & Learning Department  I  Services

Handouts: Information on key concepts & skills 
Worksheets: Exercises for students 
Activities: In-class activities to be facilitated by an instructor
Additional Resources 

More about information literacy. 

Handouts

Inquiry:
Top 10 Research Tips for IU Students:
Introduces key library resources and services
From Topic to Research Question: Steps in developing a topic and research questions
Narrowing a Topic: Steps in exploring and refining a research topic
Identifying Keywords: Tips on keyword searching in databases
Basic Search Tips: Search strategies and ways to narrow/broaden a search
Introduction to OneSearch@IU database: Tips for using this interdisciplinary database

Evaluation:
Evaluating Sources Rhetorically: 
Page 1: Questions for evaluating sources rhetorically; Page 2: Illustration of Bizup's BEAM model for rhetorical source use.
Evaluating Search Results: Tips for how to evaluate relevance of search results
Is It Scholarly?: Questions for evaluating if a source is scholarly
Know Your Sources (Portland Community College): Characteristics of a variety of online and academic source types to consider when selecting sources
Anatomy of a [Scientific] Scholarly Article(Capella University)
Reading a Scholarly Article: Tips on understanding and using scholarly articles
Primary Sources: What primary sources how and how they can be used
Useful Terms for Academic Research: Explains terms for different resource types

Knowledge Creation:
Using Evidence (IUB Writing Tutorial Services)
Develop a Thesis: Emphasizes the role of the research process in thesis development

Conversation:
Annotated Bibliographies (Univ. of New South Wales-Australia)
Literature Reviews (Univ. of North Carolina-Chapel Hill)
Staying Organized throughout the Research Process(Lake Forest College) 

Worksheets

Choosing a Topic and Search Terms: Word document from U. of Virginia
Searching OneSearch and Google: Guidance and questions on finding and evaluating sources through the library database OneSearch@IU and Google
Sources as Seeds: Use a “seed” source to identify other relevant sources.
Sources as Conversation: Explore sources as reflections of larger debates and discussions. 
Scholarly/Popular Source Comparison: Worksheet with guided questions for source evaluation
Web Evaluation: Guiding questions for evaluating websites relevant to a research topic
Preliminary Bibliography: Steps and guiding questions for developing a preliminary bibliography

Activities

Scope of a Research Question: Class activities on narrowing or broadening a research question and search strategy
Interpret a Citation: Explores citations as a way to locate and share sources

Additional Resources

Library Guides for Instructors
"Big Picture" Video Tutorials (NCSU)
Research Assignment Design
Community of Online Research Assignments (CORA)

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