Unit 3: Reviewing and Analyzing Your Sources
A successful research paper is more than a well-constructed argument supplemented by facts, figures, and quotations. Like the good writing that it supports, successful research involves planning, careful analysis, and reflection. Before you can incorporate an outside source into your work, you must take some time to think about more than just the facts and ideas you have uncovered. Is the source authoritative? Is the information substantiated fact, or is it primarily opinion? Is it up-to-date? Is it accurate and complete? These are just some of the essential questions you must ask about each piece of source information that you discover.
In this unit, you will take an in-depth look at some techniques for analyzing and evaluating the information you locate. As you review critical reading as a research strategy, you will look very closely at techniques for evaluating and comparing information that you find on the Internet and in print. You will learn some well-established techniques for determining whether a source is reputable and authoritative, and you will acquire some tools for discerning fact and opinion. You will also get to have a little fun as you complete a WebQuest in which you will find and analyze information online.
By the time you have completed this unit, you should be more confident about how and when to use the sources you have identified, and you should have a basic understanding of how to use your research to effectively and clearly support a well-developed academic paper. You will also be ready to complete your research.
Completing this unit should take you approximately 20 hours.
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:
- evaluate sources for accuracy, authority, and currency;
- explain how to use strategies for differentiating fact from opinion, propaganda, and disinformation, and apply these strategies;
- practice critical reading as a research strategy;
- research physical and online media;
- explain how to locate and evaluate information sources on the Internet, and perform these tasks; and
- explain how to create an annotated bibliography, and perform this task.
3.1: Evaluating What You Find
3.1.1: Reading Critically as a Research Strategy
Read this chapter and then complete the writing activity, which will allow you to analyze your reading habits.
3.1.2: Analyze Your Research
Read this section and complete the exercises, which are designed to guide you through the process of evaluating your research for credibility and relevance. Use the exercises as an opportunity to complete more of your research.
3.1.3: Search Assessment
- Receive a grade
Using only Internet resources, find the answers to the 10 questions in this quiz. In this assessment, you will test your skills in finding credible sources while conducting Internet research.
3.2: Developing an Annotated Bibliography
Read this article for tips on developing an annotated bibliography, and to see a sample of what a finished annotated bibliography might look like.
Read this article, which defines an annotated bibliography, distinguishes between an annotated bibliography and abstract, and explains the process of creating an annotated bibliography.
Using the skills you have learned about finding and evaluating sources, create an annotated bibliography for all of the sources you have identified for your research topic so far. As you continue your research, compile annotated entries for each new source that you identify.
3.3: Research Assessment
Review all of the sources you have identified for use in your research paper. Determine which are reliable, which may need further corroboration, and which may not be suitable for use in your final paper. Note the status of each source and, if necessary, conduct further research to remedy any problems you find. Revise your rough draft as necessary to reflect your findings.
Unit 3 Assessment
- Receive a grade
Take this assessment to see how well you understood this unit.
- This assessment does not count towards your grade. It is just for practice!
- You will see the correct answers when you submit your answers. Use this to help you study for the final exam!
- You can take this assessment as many times as you want, whenever you want.