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ENGL 057 - Critical Connections in Reading & Writing - Ulmen

What do you need?

It doesn't matter if you can find a quality source if you aren't able to identify whether that source fits your information needs. By interpreting your assignment and taking a step back to think about your needs, you will be able to evaluate what you have found to determine its relevance to your needs. 

You need... Look for...
general information sources that provide overviews to help you gain understanding
opinions on a topic sources that share points of views on a topic
facts to support your statements research articles, data sources, or statistical resources
specific examples first-person narratives or case studies
an expert's take scholarly research articles, books, or other works written by someone who has demonstrated expertise
the latest information newspapers or websites

Evaluating Sources--Rhetorical Triangle

Evaluating Sources, start by asking three questions...


1. AuthorWho is the author?

  • What do you know about the author?

  • Is he/she trustworthy? Why?

  • What else has he/she written on the subject?  

2. Audience: Who is the intended audience?

  • Who is the target audience?

  • What is the audience’s interest in the subject?

  • What does the audience know about the subject?

  • How would the audience feel about the subject?

3. Purpose: What is the purpose?

  • What specific information is the writer conveying?

  • Is the writer trying to convince you of something?

  • Is the writer trying to sell something?

*Adapted from the University Writing Program Northern Arizona University