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EVALUATING SOURCES

EVALUATING SOURCES

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EVALUATING SOURCES

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  1. EVALUATING SOURCES CRITERIA SCHOLARLY versus POPULAR? BIAS, OPINION or FACT?

  2. CRITERIA FOR EVALUATING SOURCES • Author • Is there an author? • What are the author’s credentials? • Publisher • Currency • Audience

  3. SCHOLARLY versus POPULAR? Popular Scholarly Author: Usually a scholar in the field; affiliation listed Audience: Academics References: Usually includes references Advertisements: Few ads Availability: Usually by subscription Content: Articles are specialized; often based on research; often quite long Editing: Outside scholars often review articles (peer reviewed) • Author: May or may not be an expert • Audience: General public • References: Usually no references • Advertisements: Many ads, often in color • Availability: Often at newsstand • Content: General interest; articles often brief • Editing: Edited by employees of publication

  4. BIAS , OPINION or FACT?LOOK OUT FOR THE FOLLOWING: • Use of “loaded” language • Use of inappropriate or inflammatory images • “Stretching” the facts or exaggerating the facts • Misquoting • Use of selective facts; failing to report contrary conclusions

  5. Case Study: Erin Brockovich • Who is she? • A legal researcher in California whose story was portrayed by Julia Roberts in the May 2000 movie Erin Brockovich • What did she do? • Brockovich claimed that a utility company was allowing hexavalent chromium to leach into the groundwater supply in Hinkley, California, causing many residents to become ill • In 1996, as a result of a lawsuit, the utility company paid the largest toxic tort injury settlement in U.S. history: $333 million in damages to more than 600 Hinkley, California residents

  6. How is Eric Brockovich treated in the following publications? Bhattacharjee, Y. (2005). Celebrities. Science.  310 (5746). 229. Retrieved March 1, 2008 from ProQuest database. Article link Shaky Science at Harvard. (2005, September 30). Wall Street Journal,  W.11. Retrieved March 1, 2008 from ProQuest database. Article link

  7. How about these publications? These articles are by the same author Umansky, E. (2003, November 24). Toxic. New Republic, 229(21), 18-23. Retrieved March 5, 2008, from Business Source Premier database. Article link Umansky, E. (2004). Muckraker 90210. Columbia Journalism Review, 42(6), 15-16.  Retrieved March 5, 2008, from ABI/INFORM Global database. Article link

  8. And finally, this article Scharfenaker, M. A. (2001, November). Chromium VI: a review of recent developments. American Water Works Association Journal. 93 (11), pp. 20, 22-4, 26. Article link

  9. Moral of the story: • Just because it is in print (or on the web, or in a movie, or on TV, or in a blog…..) does not make it true • Publications and their authors may have a point of view that interferes with the telling of the facts. • Be a cautious consumer of media! From your friendly librarian, Barbara Greil, Hinkle Library, Alfred State College