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Evaluating Sources

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Natasha Olivera

on 28 February 2014

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Transcript of Evaluating Sources

Evaluating Sources
Read With Your Own Goals in Mind
Early Stages = Sources provide an "Overview" to get into the conversation

Later Stages = Sources become more "Specialized".
Taking Purposeful Notes
If you do not take notes you cannot:
engage the ideas in the source
synthesize different sources
find your voice in the conversation

Additionally, when you go to write your paper, yo have no bibliographic info, no notes to refer to, no record of your thinking-in-progress.
Reading Sources Rhetorically
Keep two questions in mind:

1. What was the source author's purpose in writing this piece?

2. What might be MY purpose in using this piece?
Reliability & Credibility
Reliability refers to the accuracy of factual data in a source.

Degree of Advocacy
The extent to which an author unabashedly takes a persuasive stance on a contested position as opposed to adopting a more neutral, objective or exploratory stance.
Angle of Vision & Political Stance
The way a piece of writing is shaped by underlying values, assumptions, and beliefs of the author so that the text takes on a particular perspective, worldview, or belief system.

Tip: Look into the author's political views and/or reputation, analyze the genre, market niche and political reputation of the publication supporting the material.

pg 528-529 provides list of Angles of Vision in US Media & Think Tanks
Criteria for Evaluating Web Sources
Ask 5 Different Types of Questions:

1. Authority
2. Objectivity or Clear Disclosure of Advocacy
3. Coverage
4. Accuracy
5. Currency

(Table 20.2 pg 531)
The Web as a unique rhetorical environment
1. Found through other sites or "hits" from web search
2. Surfers stay connected on site for no more than 30 seconds
3. Home page design is crucial; print size, colors, images, etc.
4. Hypertext structure; users click from link to link rather than reading linearly
Read Sources Rhetorically & Take Purposeful Notes
Evaluating Web Sources
Evaluate sources for reliability, credibility, angle of vision and degree of advocacy
Remember: All writing is produced from an angle of vision that privileges some ways of seeing and filters our other ways.
#1. Record Bibliographic info: saves time later & forces you to identify the genre and look at the source rhetorically.
#2. Record Ideas, Info & Response: summarize sources argument & record useful info (quotes) & record your own thinking-in-progress.

Tip: Double Entry Logs
pg 526 for strategies
Credibility is like reliability but refers to internal factors like tone, reasonableness, fairness & respect.
Ask yourself: "Who placed this piece on the web and why?"

Check out the "About us" or "Mission" page

Ask "What kind of Web site is this?" Different sites have different purposes often revealed in domain identifier:

.com .org .edu .gov or .mil
Commercial sites to promote businesses, attract customers, market products & services, and provide customer service. AOV is to promote view of corporation or business. Usually no identified author.
Non profits or advocacy groups. Some provide accurate balanced info (NPR), while others promote political views (Heritage Foundation), or advocate a cause (Persons for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).
Associated with colleges or universities. Home pages aim to attract prospective students and donors. Sub-sites are devoted to research, pedagogy, libraries, etc. AOV varies from strong advocacy on issues to objective and scholarly.
Sponsored by government agencies or military units. Provide a range of basic data on governmental policy, bills in Congress, economic forecasts, census data, etc. AOV varies from objective informational to those that promote agency's agenda.
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