Evaluate Secondary Sources

Create Trading Cards for Sources

Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by originalpozer

Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by originalpozer

Using the format of a trading card can be a good way to encourage yourself to visualize an article’s ideas and concepts in a different way.

Activity

1. Use this template to create four trading cards for four separate scholarly articles. You will need to copy and paste the document into a new Google doc that you can edit.

2. For each of the four articles, you need to:

  • Complete the bibliographic information requested on the trading cards.
  • Find a picture to insert on the trading card that you feel represents the article in some way. This can be any photo that creates a connection of some kind between you and the content of the article. Use a photo that will help you make an association to the article and jog your memory about the content of the article when you come back to it.
  • Work within the constraints of the trading card format. When addressing the “evidence” and “connection to research” sections of the cards, don’t write more than the card permits. Part of the challenge (and usefulness) of this exercise is to boil down your points.

3. Share-out: After you create the four trading cards, link to a final document or take a picture/screenshot of them and upload to the WordPress comment space. If you find this activity useful for your research goals, make more trading cards!

Evaluating a Source’s Ethos

Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by Les Black

Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by Les Black

Activity

1. Open a document and put the full bibliographic citation of one source at the top of the page.

2. Work through the following prompts to analyze the authority and credibility of the source:

  • Author: Who is/are the author/s? How and why do they have the authority or credibility to write/talk about this topic? Do they have special education? Specific experiences? (You can ask these same questions of editors!)
  • Publishing Venue: Where did you find this source? What are the processes for work to be published/shared at this location? Who vets publications/sharing?
  • Publishing Process: What process did the author/s have to go through to get this work published? Were there editors who vetted the work? Peer reviewers?
  • Reference Network: Who is referenced in the source? What other sources are referenced in the source? Does that source appear connected to major discussions around the topic or in the disciplinary/professional field?

3. Share-out: In the comments thread, upload a document with your notes or provide a link to where you have posted your notes elsewhere (make sure they are posted publicly).

Identify Evaluation Criteria

Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by bedroom.eyes

Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by bedroom.eyes

Start a document and track the results of each step below.

Activity

  1. Use at least two different search engines and look for websites that help you “evaluate resources.” You might also search for criteria using the phrase “scholarly sources” as well. You might want to add the name of your course, department, field, or disciplines to your search terms; you might find discipline-specific criteria as well.
  2. Identify two criteria lists you think would be useful to evaluate your sources. Why do you think these lists are good/useful?
  3. Identify at least one list that you don’t think is good or complete? Briefly describe why.
  4. Share-out: Copy/paste or upload your resulting lists and reflections to the comments.

Note-Taking Templates

Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by hiromy

Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by hiromy

Activity

  1. Go to Microsoft Office Templates, Google Doc Templates, or creative note-taking applications like RealTimeBoard or Stormboard.
  2. Find two or three different note-taking templates you think might help you engage with your sources.
  3. Try taking notes in 2-3 different templates (you can take notes for different sources you are reading).
  4. In a separate document, provide the name (and link) to the note-taking templates you tried. Briefly describe what you liked, or did not like, about each template.
  5. Share-out: Upload your comparison to the comments thread.

Connecting to Your Topic: Literature Review Matrix

Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by jennyrotten

Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by jennyrotten

Activity

  1. Create a table in a Word or Excel doc or Google Doc or Spreadsheet. Include at least 5 rows and 5 columns. Use this table as an example (you may also COPY this table to your own document).
  2. At the top of the matrix, write your focused research topic, question, or thesis.
  3. In the far left column, list the main ideas you plan to cover in your literature review.
  4. In the columns to the right of each main idea, list authors and abbreviated names of sources you have found.
  5. As you read your sources, take notes associated with each sub-topic. Write the notes in the appropriate square in your matrix.
  6. Use this resource from NC State University to learn more about developing a literature review matrix.
  7. Share-out: In the comments thread, upload a document with your notes or provide a link to where you have posted your notes elsewhere (make sure they are posted publicly). At the bottom of the page, be sure to include full bibliographic citations of the sources from which you are taking notes.

Taking Notes Digitally

Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by Great Beyond

Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by Great Beyond

There are a variety of ways to engage with a source. Usually we take basic notes that include the following:

  • brief summary, and
  • key terms/concepts w/definitions and/or descriptions.

Activity

1. Open a document and put the full bibliographic citation of one source at the top of the page.

2. Take notes on your chosen source. Begin with a summary and definitions of the key terms and/or concepts.

3. Now, take advantage of writing in a digital environment by doing at least three of the following:

  • hyperlink to resources and/or discussions
  • use detailed font formatting (style, color, size, etc.) that engages with content/meaning
  • embed resources
  • include a representative image and citation
  • include an annotated image/screencapture
  • embed a poll that teaches and engages readers with the material

4. Share-out: In the comments thread, upload a document with your notes or provide a link to where you have posted your notes elsewhere (make sure they are posted publicly). Be sure to include a full bibliographic citation of the source from which you are taking notes.

(Try using this website to help take static screenshots or take screencast videos with  Screencast-O-Matic or Open Broadcaster Software.)

 

Engaging the Source

Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by Aslak Raanes

Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by Aslak Raanes

There are a variety of ways to engage with a source. Usually, we take basic notes that include the following:

  • brief summary, and
  • key terms/concepts w/definitions and/or descriptions.

Activity

1.Open a document and put the full bibliographic citation of one source at the top of the page.

2. Engage more deeply with your chosen source by using at least three of the engagement strategies listed below:

  • quotes w/discussion
  • questions w/discussion
  • something very new/exciting w/discussion
  • connections to other readings w/discussion
  • connections to examples w/discussion
  • connections to experiences w/discussion
  • connections to course outcomes
  • connections to personal course outcomes

3. Share-out: In the comments thread, upload a document with your notes or provide a link to where you have posted your notes elsewhere (make sure they are posted publicly). Be sure to include a full bibliographic citation of the source from which you are taking notes.

Rhetorically Situate the Source

Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by sharyn morrow

Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by sharyn morrow

Identifying the purpose of why a text is written and the audience to whom the text is written as well as understanding who the author is helps researchers more fully determine the usefulness and relevance of a source. These elements–purpose, audience, and author–help make up the rhetorical process. You can understand a source better by thinking about how and why it was developed.

Activity

1. Open up a document and put the full bibliographic citation of one source at the top of the page.

2. Analyze the rhetorical situation of the source by engaging with the questions below:

  • Purpose/aim: What is the audience supposed to do after reading/consuming the text? Don’t just give the verb of the action (i.e., persuade, educate, call to action, entertain, inform, shock, etc.); instead, discuss the specific argument or type of entertainment or action to complete. How do you know this is the purpose? Provide examples from the text that help you understand the purpose.
  • Audience (intended, secondary, & tertiary): Who are the intended audience members of this text? Things you might discuss about the audience include: age, experiences/beliefs (especially in relation to the purpose and/or topic), gender, occupation, location, socio-economics, parents and peers, education, culture, etc. Be sure to discuss what are the expectations of the audience based on these details. Also discuss where in the text the author is meeting the wants/needs of the audience.
  • Subject/topic: What is the exact, focused topic being conveyed and/or argument being made. Most of the time you will cover this while discussing the purpose/aim.
  • Author/producer: Who wrote/produced this text? How/why is the author invested in the topic? How/why does the author have the authority or expertise to write about this topic? Who/where/how was this text produced? How/why does the production method, mode, and media contribute to or distract from the authority of the author and/or the text?

3. Share-out: In the comments thread, upload a document with your notes or provide a link to where you have posted your notes elsewhere (make sure they are posted publicly). Be sure to include a full bibliographic citation of the source from which you are taking notes.