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How to avoid weak sources in your research?

Written by: Allaa Muhammed

Research needs to differ from one to another and from a paper to the other. There is no set of rules you have to follow to write a creative research, though you have to find credible resources to your paper to be eligible. So, you have to evaluate your resources when using books, articles, reports, and especially websites.

  • Initial assessment:

    • Author: does the author have any (political, religious,…..) aim from fhis writing? Have you seen the author name cited in other sources like Google Scholar, for example. You have to find in which websites his name is included.
    • Date of writing: is the source you are writing from current, or up to date? As scientific writing and resources have rapid development.
    • Edition: is that the first edition of the book for the book. As second and third edition is more accurate, because they are revised and updated more than the first one.
  • Content analysis:

    • Goals: read the introduction of the book or abstract of the research to determine author’s intention.
    • Targeted audience: what type of audience that is writing to them. Students, researchers, professors, …etc.
    • Inclusion: does the author use up to date sources, add new information? Does the article contain primary or secondary resources? As primary resources are the basic and raw materials of academic research.
  • Evaluating web sources:

    Objectives: some websites are pretending to be useful, but they may be try to promote, or sell something. You have to ask yourself many questions before using website.

  • What is the purpose for the site?

  • Is the site content trying to sell you something?

  • Who is the targeted audience?

  • Authority:

    • Look for “about us”, “who are we”, or something similar.
    • Search for contact information for the author ( e.g email address, ….)
    • Take care of the domain of the site (edu, gov, com, net, org)
    • Look for back-links that refer to the website.
  • Differentiate scholarly from non-scholarly journals:

    • As scholarly journals have new information in all fields
    • They have always cited sources
    • People who are writing in it are scholars and professors
    • The language they used is always formal.
    • The core purpose of a scholarly journal is to enhance research enrichment.

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