Source Evaluation Essay Materials

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Source Evaluation Essay
100 points      500-750 words (2-3 pages)

This stand-alone essay is designed to help you prepare for the Research Project, and is one of the steps towards completing that at the end of the quarter.

For this Source Evaluation Essay, you will select one of the sources you have found through your preliminary research about your Research Essay topic.  Which source you choose is up to you; however, it should be substantial enough that you’ll be able to talk about it at length, and intricate enough that it will keep you (and me) interested.

The introduction of this paper will be introducing the source: give the author, the title, and the context (where you found it, where it was originally published, who sponsored it, etc.)  You will then go on to evaluate it on 2 levels:

  1. Trustworthiness.  Using the information in “Evaluating Internet Research Sources” from the VirtualSalt website as a guide, as well as the methods we’ve discussed in our weekly conversations, evaluate the source’s authenticity and reliability.   Look at all information that you can find about the source to establish the author’s (or sponsor’s) credibility.
    • You do not have to choose a web-based source, by any means.  The details of assessing credibility of online sources in this Virtual Salt article can be easily adapted to fit non-online sources.
  2. Usefulness.  Using a combination of summary and analysis, examine the source on a critical level.  Determine what the source’s purpose (thesis) is, and how it arrives at that goal.  Examine its value to you and the project you’re working on.  How will it help you prove your own points?  How might it come in handy to show a claim (or counter-claim)?

Include a conclusion which shows your final assessments on both counts.  This project will be created inductively: first you’ll give your evidence and observations about the source, and only in the conclusion will your final evaluation be presented as your thesis.

Utilize APA in-text citations and include an APA References page (which isn’t included in the final word/page count).  This will be formatted as an APA essay, so it will need a title page as well.

You will need to do additional research to help you prove your claims about the source’s trustworthiness, so be sure to fully cite all sources used in helping you reach your conclusions.   At least 2 sources will need to be present on your References page: the source you’re evaluating plus at least one other source you’ve consulted to prove its reliability (or lack thereof).



Outline Presentation

A PDF of this presentation is available to download here.

Student Samples

Sample Essay #1 (Google Doc link)

Sample Essay #2 (Google Doc link)

Sample Essay #3 (Google Doc link)