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HIST 210: Research Methods

Guide for HIST 210

Questions to Consider when evaluating Sources

-Who wrote this article, and are they qualified to speak on the topic?
-Who published this article, and do they have an interest in shaping your views?
-Who funded this article, and are there adverts included in the article?
-When was this article published, and is it outdated?
-Where do they get their information, and is That source trustworthy?
-Does the author give citations on where they found their information?

There is a great deal of useful information out there, so do not limit yourself to the first thing you find! Evaluate and judge your sources.

Popular vs Scholarly

Scholarly Journal Articles Popular Magazine Articles
Focus is narrow and specific. Focus of articles are broader
Articles include in-text citations and footnotes, with a bibliography or list of works cited. Rarely include notes or bibliographies 
Articles report on research done by the author(s). Articles may be oriented toward general information or entertainment
Articles are almost always peer-reviewed or "refereed" (reviewed by other experts prior to publication).  Check the journal's website if you're not sure. Articles are not reviewed prior to publication
Authors are always identified, and are subject experts Authors may not be identified, or are staff writers or journalists.
The audience is other experts - usually the language will use the terminology of the field. The audience is ordinary people, and the language is less specialized.
Graphics are used for purposes of illustration or to convey data Graphics and illustrations are used for impact and appeal, as well as illustration
There are little or no advertisements. Advertising is everywhere.


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