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Get Started with Research

An overview of the research process in college courses: Develop a topic, learn search strategies, evaluate sources, cite sources, etc.

Why Evaluate Sources and Information

If you want a good grade, use high quality, credible, and authoritative sources.  The sources you select for inclusion in your works cited or reference page are a direct reflection of the quality of your paper.  You cannot expect to get a good grade if you use Wikipedia, random websites, and opinion blogs.  You need to evaluate the sources you use. Think of it this way, if you wanted to decide which Smart Phone to purchase, would you use a random blog, the manufacturer's website, or Consumer Reports?

  • A blog would give you someone's opinion. The information would not be researched.
  • The manufacturer's website might offer factual information about the phone's features, but it may post only positive reviews. 
  • Consumer Reports conducts research on products and then presents the results. 

When making a decision that will cost you money, you would probably use Consumer Reports to get the best information to back up your decision.  When writing a research paper you want to use the best sources because using anything less could cost you your grade!

Evaluating Information from the Web

Detecting Bias in Sources

Be a smart information consumer. Learn to read between the lines and identify bias.