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Follow these steps to help you find sources on your topic. You will likely need to repeat any or all of these steps as you search for sources.
- Step 1: Break topic down into concepts
- Step 2: Brainstorm related terms and synonyms
- Step 3: Combine your terms
- Step 4: Begin searching a database (consider on that is specific to your topic)
- Step 5: Evaluate your search results
Tips for Reading Sources
Try these methods to better help you comprehend what you are reading so that you can incorporate sources into your paper.
- Preview - what type of source, how is it laid out
- Annotate - make notes, write down questions
- Outline, Summarize, Analyze
- Look for basic argument
- What reasons are there for the evidence?
- What doesn’t make sense?
- Look for repetitions and patterns, and key propositions
- Contextualize - consider other circumstances, your own knowledge and experience
- Compare & Contrast - look for relationships among other sources you’ve found
Tips for Evaluating Sources
Consider these elements when evaluating sources to use in your persuasive paper.
- Readability - consider what you can understand, as you read you will understand more
- How close does the source align with your information needs?
- Consider your topic and purpose statement and assignment requirements
- Consider bias, date, audience, and references
- What are the author's credentials?
- Reliability vs. Validity
- Reliability is the degree to which a test consistently measures whatever is being measured
- Validity is the accuracy of the results
- Consider disagreement among sources and how that contributes to your argument