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Searching for Useful Sources, Reaction Paper Example

Pages: 2

Words: 673

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What should you consider when searching for useful sources? How do you know when sources are reliable? What are some red flags that indicate you should avoid a particular source?

Classmate Response:

When searching for useful sources you want to consider what kind of research you are doing. One of the most important thing is to know what resource you would like to use. I like to use as many sources as possible and take plenty of notes and then I review what I have and eliminate what is not necessary. I know when a source is reliable depending on if it is a primary source or secondary source. Most of the time, primary sources are more reliable since it is the first hand source information and not discussed or interpreted like a secondary source. A lot of secondary sources may be edited and not have the exact information since it was analyzed or summarized. Some red flags that indicate I should avoid a particular source are blogs, discussion posts, chat rooms, or personal websites. These kind of sources do not state all facts and most are based on opinions. Taking the time to research a webpage or the author of a book or article can be a way to avoid unreliable sources as well.

Response:

The response makes the initial valid point that the context of the research will define the legitimacy of the sources. To expand on this idea, writing an academic article will require sources that are deemed legitimate by the academic literature, for example, peer-reviewed journals and books that are published by academic publishing houses. In contrast, sources for a more “popular” text do not have such high standards of rigor. A second interesting point made in the response is the distinction between primary and secondary sources, with the response favoring primary sources. This, however, depends on context. For history, it is obviously important to use primary historical sources. Yet for philosophy or literary theory, commentaries on texts are almost as important as the original texts, since these fields develop cumulatively. Lastly, the observation about taking care regarding online sources is well taken, since as pointed about they are largely subjective and may lack backing research.

What should you consider when searching for useful sources? How do you know when sources are reliable? What are some red flags that indicate you should avoid a particular source?

Classmate Response: When searching for useful sources one should consider what the topic of choice is, once that is established, look into print resources such as, reference works; that includes, almanacs, encyclopedias, atlases, and scientific abstracts.  There is also nonfiction books, periodicals, government publications, and scholarly journals.  These publications are useful sources for any topic and when looking into these sources, be sure to make sure it is credible by looking at the author and seeing if they have other published articles out there, when and how often the material is updated, and going off of first instinct if the article is well put together and what information is portrayed.  Red flags would be bias in the article, how the article is put together, meaning if the author is going more off of personal experience or facts and citing their sources.

Response: 

The response provides a thorough summary of the different types of research material that may provide valuable reference sources, largely concentrating on sources that are considered legitimate by the academic community. At the same time, the response seeks to identify quality sources beyond the mere seal of approval granted by the peer-review process and other academic filtering mechanisms. For example, as noted in the response, even though an article may have been accepted by, for example, the peer-review process, it is also important to treat each text as an isolated entity, trying to unpack the possible biased views of the author in question. From another perspective, however, identifying such biases can help one form one’s own research assignment, potentially using the shortcomings in a given article to buttress a hypothesis through a critical reading of a contrasting hypothesis.

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