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How to do Research 2016-2017: Session 2: Authority Is Contextual

In-Class Assignment

Begin the in-class assignment by selecting the name of the librarian who is meeting with your class today.

Prof. Doug Fruehling is teaching my class.

Prof. Robin Lang is teaching my class.

Dr. Denise Nelson is teaching my class.


Discussion Links

We'll visit these sites during today's class discussion:

Read more about it in St. Martin's Handbook

PLNU's College Composition courses use the 8th Edition of the St. Martin's Handbook as a guide to research.

Pg. 215-216: Evaluating usefulness and credibility of sources

Pg. 218-219: Source Map: Evaluating web sources

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Text us: (619) 592-8884

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Evaluating Websites

Consider Quality...

These principles of web source evalution are drawn from The St. Martin's Handbook8th edition (p. 218-219):


Does the site/document have an author? What are the author's credentials? Why should you trust this author as an expert? 


Who sponsors or publishes the source? What evidence demonstrates that the sponsor/publisher is credible? What purpose/perspective does the sponsor seem to promote?


How recently was the information posted or modified? Could it be outdated or obsolete?


How do you know that the information itself is trustworthy? Are there links to other sites/sources to support factual claims?

Searching Smarter

Smart Searching Using Google






 Find information from a certain site


 Find definitions for a word



 Find only one kind of file



 Eliminate results with particular words

 college protests -vietnam


 Find an exact word (no plurals/synonyms)

 “generation exploit

 “multiple words

 Find a group of words in exact order

 “No Child Left Behind


Navigating Your Results


 Find a certain word on the page

 Hold down Control or Command key and  press letter F: A box appears. Enter the  word you’re searching for.

Not finding what you need?

Try one of these options:

How Google Works

Have you ever wondered how Google decides what to include in your search results list? 

Take a look at this infographic from Google on How Search Works.

Or watch the video below: 

News Literacy

News Literacy: How to Evaluate the News for Quality

How to Distinguish News from Other Types of Information

Ask yourself, does this piece of information demonstrate verification, independence and accountability (VIA)? If it does not, it’s not news and may be propaganda or fake news.


​A process of collecting evidence that establishes or confirms the accuracy or truth of something.


Freedom from the control, influence, or support of interested parties, coupled with a conscious effort to set aside any preexisting beliefs and a system of checks and balances.


Being responsible or answerable for your work.


How to Evaluate the Sources Used in News Stories for Quality, Credibility and Trustworthiness (IMVA/IN)

I: Independent sources are better than self-interested sources

M: Multiple sources are better than single sources

V: Sources who Verify with evidence are better than sources who assert

A / I: Authoritative / Informed sources are better than uninformed sources

N: Named sources are better than unnamed sources