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Introduction to Research: Resource Evaluation

This guide is to help you with the research process.

What are sources?

Sources are any place you obtain information, data, or facts.  Sources include the following:

  • journal articles
  • books
  • encyclopedias
  • newspapers & magazine articles
  • websites
  • government reports
  • interviews
  • movies and tv shows
  • radio programs and podcasts
  • documentaries
     

What is peer review, and why should I care?

Peer review is the evaluation prior to publication of scientific, academic, or professional work by others working in the same field.

Primary vs Secondary Sources

Primary sources are contemporary accounts of an event, written by someone who experienced or witnessed that event.  Some examples include eyewitness accounts, statistical data, legal documents, and video or audio footage.

Secondary sources are interpretations and evaluations of primary sources.  Secondary sources are not evidence, but rather they are commentary on and discussion about evidence.  Some examples include newspaper and magazine articles, reviews of books or movies, and journal articles that discuss another person's work.

Ithaca Library has an excellent website about the differences between primary and secondary sources.

What are some ways to evaluate sources?

Alligators live in the sewers of NYC, right? I heard that from somewhere.

A cartoon alligator in a shower cap with a towel around his waist and a shower brush.

Urban legends can be confused with fact.  Be careful out there.