Evaluating Sources

Even as you search for sources, you need to consider the factors that help determine the quality of a source–distance and review.

Library Subscription Databases

  • Academic/Scholarly/Peer Reviewed Journals–These journals are where your professors publish their work. They are reviewed carefully by experts in the field who can vouch for their quality.
  • Popular Newspapers and Magazine–These periodicals include editors who check for the accuracy of work written by journalists. They have a level of review but that level is not one of expertise in a field other than journalism. Articles often refer to “studies” published in academic journals discussed above and, as such, are more distant from the original study.

Google Scholar

  • Google Scholar will filter only scholarly sources from a normal Google search but will not guarantee the full text article. Google Scholar is not a bad choice to begin your research and use in conjunction with the library’s subscription databases.

Incorporating Source Material

Writers who incorporate source material skillfully and deliberately make choices based on three different perspectives—the original source, the audience, and the writer. The act of documentation shows respect for the original source, how the material is documented shows respect for the reader, and how one synthesizes the source material reflects on the writer—positively or negatively. The following slideshow discusses how each of these perspectives informs the writer’s choices.

Introduction to the Writing Process

When people speak of “the writing process,” we tend to consider one, single writing process. The truth is, though, that there are as many different writing processes as there are occasions to write and people doing the writing. That is, your writing process will probably be different from anyone you know, and even your writing process will change at least a little bit from writing occasion to writing occasion. Here are a couple more concepts to keep in mind as you consider which writing process works for you, when to adjust your writing process based on purpose and audience, and how to make those changes.

  • Most, if not all, writing processes are recursive. That is, it’s not a nice, neat process in which step one leads into step two which leads into step three, etc. Rather, it’s a messy jumble of steps. For example, you might find yourself brainstorming and drafting new ideas to attend to an audience need that you identify in the “revising” stage.
  • Most, if not all, of the stages merge almost seamlessly into other stages, often without much thought or notice. To add to the mess created by the recursive nature of the entire process, sometimes we wander from stage to stage without even realizing we are doing so. For example, we might be glancing through Wikipedia in an attempt to think through ideas when we find ourselves “drafting” a sentence or two in our heads, often a preliminary thesis or topic sentence for a new idea. It’s best to just let this merging of stages happen and record those sentences in some manner for use later.

Regardless, over time, teachers and researchers of writing have identified a bunch of stages. You will see these stages described differently in different textbooks and by different teachers. The important thing to note, though, isn’t so much the sequence of the stages or the label we apply to each stages; rather, see which elements of the writing process apply best to the writing your need to complete for a specific writing occasion, purpose and audience and consider which elements you would like to improve upon.



Online Course Compatibility Survey

Of course, whether or not you choose to enroll in an online course is your decision. However, many students choose online classes for the wrong reasons. English 101, a course in which students are assessed according to their mastery of a specific skill, is a particularly difficult course to complete online because such a course must use complicated methods of delivery and instruction and, thus, might demand more technical skills of enrolled students.

This survey is designed to help you determine whether or not the online version of a skills-based course is right for you in general. Specifically, though, the survey is designed for this particular online version of English 101. It’s in your best interest to respond to each question honestly and to find the answers to questions you do not know.

You will need about 20 minutes to complete the survey.

NOTE:
In order to complete the survey, you will need to complete the VARK questionnaire at this web site.