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RES104: LIFE Section: Evaluating and Using Sources

Evaluation criteria

Evaluation Criteria things to consider when  evaluating your source quality. Authority: Who wrote it? What is their expertise? Who do they work for? Why are they trustworthy? How do you know that? Currency: When was this written? How long ago was the info they're quoting published? Has information changed since then? Sources/Data: Where did they get their information? Did they collect it themselves? How did they? If not, what info do they use to prove their point? Purpose: What is the goal of this source? Are they trying to convince you of something? Inform you? Sell you something? Educate you? Point of View: What is the author or organization's perspective? How does that affect their argument? Funding/Transparency: Who funded the research? Who funds the organization? Does that impact their findings? Does that provide potential bias? Explore the source to find evidence to answer these questions. Balance: Does the author provide multiple points of view? Do they address the counterarguments from the other side? Does it provide a balanced view? Organization: Who published the source? What is the goal of the organization? Are they open and transparent about that? Remember that this isn't a check list. Instead, you need to consider the relative strength of the criteria and if the overall quality leans most convincingly for or against use. Charles C. Myers Library

When and why should I paraphrase?

A direct quote tells the reader that you can find good information

A paraphrase tells the reader that you can understand and interpret the information that you read.

When should I paraphrase?

If you are trying to give the reader an accurate and comprehensive account of the ideas you have gathered from the source, paraphrasing is very effective.

Tips on Paraphrasing and Quoting

  • Write a sentence as a transition before getting to the quote itself. You should ALMOST ALWAYS start a paragraph with your words, not a direct quote!
  • Having trouble writing in your own words? Close the book or turn over the piece of paper and write out what you're trying to say from memory. This helps because in order to do it well you have to understand what you're summarizing!

Proper paraphrasing in MLA and APA

Paraphrase with signal phrase: (APA)

Author William Zinsser (1994) argues that in order to write well, one must think clearly, just as if one were doing any other logical task.

  • The author is clearly identified in the sentence. The date comes immediately after the author’s name and is in parentheses. You should generally use a signal phrase the first time you mention an author you are citing.

Paraphrase without signal phrase: (APA)

In order to write well, one must think clearly, just as if one were doing any other logical task (Zinsser, 1994).

  • The author is clearly identified in the parenthetical citation. The date is immediately after a comma and the author’s last name. The end period is AFTER the citation, never before. This method can be used after the author has been established in your text by a previous signal phrase.

 

Quoting: More than copy/paste

Direct quotation with signal phrase (APA):

According to author William Zinsser (1994), “Thinking clearly is a conscious act that writers must force upon themselves, as if they were working on any other project that requires logic: adding up a laundry list or doing an algebra problem” (p. 12).

  • The author is clearly identified in the sentence. The date comes immediately after the author’s name and is in parentheses. The quotation is taken word-for-word and placed inside quotation marks. The page number is in parentheses that are OUTSIDE of the quotation marks. The end period follows the parenthetical citation.

Direct quotation without signal phrase (APA):

The processes involved in thinking and writing are very closely connected. “Thinking clearly is a conscious act that writers must force upon themselves, as if they were working on any other project that requires logic: adding up a laundry list or doing an algebra problem” (Zinsser, 1994, p. 12).

  • The parenthetical citation includes the author’s last name, the date, and the page number, all separated by commas. The citation is OUTSIDE of the quotation marks, and the end period is AFTER the citation itself.