See It in Practice

Now that you have an understanding of some effective ways to evaluate sources, it’s time to check in with our student writer. In this video cast, you’ll see our student writer evaluate one of her sources for relevance or suitability, credibility, and timeliness.

Video Transcript
Student says:

I am now ready to take a closer look at my sources and evaluate them using the criteria presented in this section of the Online Writing Lab. In the passages you see here, I made some notes to address the relevance, authority, and timeliness of one of my sources. I have highlighted some of my notes for my discussion here.

I am looking at one of my sources. It’s a short article from a high school teacher. The title of the article is called “Warnings from the Trenches.”

[points to suitability]

In terms of suitability, I thought that this would work very well for my topic. First of all, it’s written from a former high school teacher, who is describing his experiences. He even provides examples of when he purposefully taught “bad” writing techniques to students in order to help them pass a test. So, this will be very relevant to my paper.

[points to authorship and authority]

In terms of authority, I think that this essay carries some authority because it is written by someone who worked, as he called it “in the trenches” of public education for years. However, it is important for me to remember that this piece just offers one opinion and just his experiences. And of course, there could be others who would disagree. Still, this is published in a respected academic journal, so that is going to add some credibility.

[points to timeliness]

The timeliness, I think, is one of the clear strengths of this source. It was published in 2013, so it’s very recent.

This was just my first source to evaluate, so now, my task is to evaluate each source in a similar manner. I have to remember to carefully evaluate my sources because people will judge the quality of my work, at least in part, on the quality of the sources that I use.

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