There is tons of information out for you to use when writing a paper, but what information is useful? It all really depends on what your project is about and whether you believe it will be useful to it. To understand which information is best for your project you need to evaluate your sources; you’re basically judging the sources based on criteria. A good way to do this is by evaluating a source in a process. First, evaluate when planning, reading, searching and while you’re writing. You’re pretty much always evaluating your sources to make sure they fit into your paper. After all, your paper is based on those sources. Here is a list of a few questions you can ask yourself during the process of evaluating:
Before evaluating a source you need to plan how the source will be used in your paper. “Not every source must directly support your thesis; sources can have other functions in a paper” (AWR pg. 376). This is an example of how sources may not always directly support your thesis. In most cases, at least in my experience, other sources can be used to give background information which gives authority to your argument. For example, when evaluating a source that you will use for background information, you would need to judge it based on criteria. For instance, how well is the information presented? Where is the information from? Is the information reliable and so on.
“You’re likely to locate many more results than you can read or use” (AWF pg. 377). There is more information out there than you can read, it is important for you to learn how to find the right information. A good way to do this is to evaluate your search results to make them specific to your needs. Using a database is a good way to find sources because of its ability to allow users to narrow their search results to specific things such as time periods or types of articles. After you find a source a good way to preview your source, whether its a book or article, and judge it based on specific questions that fit your needs like: How current is the book? Whats the purpure of the book?