Table of Contents
Primary vs. Secondary
using a Website or published materials, you must evaluate the source to
decide if it is appropriate to use in your paper.
Here are some
questions to ask:
Who wrote it? What educational
credentials does he, she, or they have?
Who published it? Does this
organization have a philosophy or set of ideas they are trying to convince
people to hold, or do they publish authors on either side of a discussion?
(The Reference Desk at the Library has a book called Magazines for
Libraries that can alert you to any ideological slants in journals.)
Does this journal employ experts (peers) to
review the articles before publication?
How old is the information?
Does the author provide references for
their background information, previous studies, statistics, etc.?
Do the conclusions the author draws make
sense, given the results of their investigation?
Is the design of the study likely to
produce the results the author is trying to test?
Is this a primary source or a secondary
source? (See the next 4 screens for some clues to answer this
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