Exercise on finding and evaluating sources (online class only)

For this research exercise, first choose one of the following housing trends:

  • smart homes
  • McMansions
  • modular home construction
  • tiny homes
  • net-zero homes
  • green building techniques
  • tent cities
  • assisted living facilities (where do Old Folks live?)
  • boomerang kids
  • keeping chickens

Imagine that you are will be writing a short report on this housing trend, with some statistics establishing it is a trend, some description of the trend, and a brief analysis of its causes and/or effects. You will not actually be writing this report!

Use some of the search strategies you have read about to locate one source of the following types: book, magazine article, newspaper article, academic journal article, blog post, encyclopedia/wikipedia article, web page from an organizational web site, and video. These do not have to be all “good” sources; post some deliberately bad ones for contrast.  If you find books, link to the amazon page for the book, if possible. Indicate how you found the source (what search engine and what search terms). Use this exercise as a chance to try out some new search methods; in particular, I’d like to encourage everyone to try out the research databases.

On your blog, make a post titled something like “Research project” (with subject in parentheses). List hyperlinks for the sources you find (video to come), and label each by type of source. Then for each source, construct the MLA Works Cited entry, and write a brief evaluation of each source in terms of its relevance, authority, bias, and currency. Do you consider the source excellent, good, mediocre, or poor? Be sure to give some evidence for your judgment; for example, what evidence do you see that the author is credible (or not)?

If you have questions as you work, please feel free to post them as comments below this post.

5 thoughts on “Exercise on finding and evaluating sources (online class only)

  1. Do we have to find an individual source for each of these: (book, magazine article, newspaper article, academic journal article, blog post, encyclopedia/wikipedia article, web page from an organizational web site, and video) or just a handful of them? If not, how many sources in total should we find?

    • Try to find at least one source per type (so that would be eight sources). For some topics, that will be a challenge, so just explain why or what your difficulties were for a particular type of source if you can’t find one.

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