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English 102: American Violence, with Pranab Kumar: Library Assignment #2

Instructions for assignment

In this assignment, you will evaluate a popular (non-scholarly) article or page found on a website to use in your research paper.  The purpose of this assignment is to provide you with the skills to look critically at a website and determine if it is a reliable source of information and appropriate for your research paper.

Get started:

Step One:  Watch the two videos below. 
Video #1 is from Portland  Community College. It provides context and perspective for evaluating sources. 
Video #2

How Do I Evaluate Online Information?  This video is from the University of Arizona. It has a slightly different approach than the first video but gives you additional steps to take for fact-checking information you find on a website.

Step Two

Find a website and apply the techniques discussed in the videos to evaluate the site.  You can use a website you have already found, one that is on your resource guide or through a new search. Since you are looking for a website, you will want to use Google or any search engine.  Do not use the library databases. Be sure to read the tips in the Suggestion box below.

Step Three

Complete the worksheet.

Step Four: 

Submit your assignment in Canvas.

Assignment is due by by 11:59 pm on Friday, February 10

If you have any questions or problems with this activity, please contact me

To be successful in the assignment:
  • The website needs to be a popular source. Do not use an article from an academic/scholarly journal that you find on a website or one that has been uploaded to a website. Since you completed the first library assignment, you should know the difference between an article from a scholarly/academic journal and an article or page from a website.  If you are not sure, please email me.
  • Be specific when answering each question. For example, when asked to explain why you think the author or website is reliable, do not say "She is reliable."  Explain why. (A tip:  To thoroughly evaluate, you will need to go off the website to fully explore their background, experience, organizational or institutional affiliation.

Advanced Google Searching

Not all web resources are created equal!  You can use Google's Advanced Search option to focus your search, using specific keywords or limiting it to certain domains, such as only a .gov (government site) or .edu (educational site).   To get to the Advanced Search tool, go to the Google Advanced Search or and type in "advanced google search."  From the advanced screen, add keywords you have developed and under "domain or site" specific either .edu or .gov to limit your results.  See the graphic below.  But, remember, even if you are using a .gov or .edu, you still need to evaluate the information on the site to make sure it is relevant and useful to your specific research topic.  Also, don't automatically rule out a .org or .com; some excellent websites use those domains.