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Interpersonal Communications (COMM 103 - Sahlman)

This guide will help you find and cite academically-appropriate sources for your research assignment.

Why Use the Web?

Face it; it's easy and familiar to many people.  Also, the Web is a great resource for research because it's so vast; you can find primary documents, news stories, research papers, pictures, movies, sound, government reports, and more.  For research you would use the Web to:

  • Research cutting-edge topics
  • Read current news and information
  • Link to Library information & resources
  • Discover information about companies
  • Find information from all levels of government
  • Read expert and popular opinions

Web Facts

  • Most information on the Web does not go through any sort of review process
  • You must be the editor of all the Web resources you choose to use
  • Anyone can publish anything on the Web
  • Not all information you find on the Web is free
  • Information on the Web is not comprehensive
  • Most information on the Web is not permanent

You should care about this because you want to use the best resources you can to answer your research questions and learn about your topic.

Communications Associations

Below are some professional associations that directly relate to this course. Other websites will be useful, but be sure to carefully evaluate them for credibility and appropriateness. See CRAAP test lower on this page.

Why Evaluate?

You need to ensure that you're using the highest quality sources of information for your academic work. As you gather information for your research project, you'll look at many different sources: books, articles from databases, Web documents, interviews, videos, and more.

You can feel pretty confident that books you get from the library and articles you find in the library's research databases are reliable and credible because you know those have gone through a traditional editorial process; someone or some group has checked all the facts and arguments the author made and then deemed them suitable for publishing.  You still have to think about whether or not the book or article is current and suitable for your project but you can feel confident that it is a credible, reliable source.

Use the CRAAP Test for Credibility

Finding information today is easy; it's all around you. Making sure the information you find is reliable can be a challenge.

When you use Google or any social media to get your information how do you know it can be trusted? How do you know it's not biased?

You can feel pretty confident that books you get from the library and articles you find in the library's databases are reliable because someone or some group has checked all the facts and arguments the author made before publishing them. You still have to think about whether or not the book or article is current and suitable for your project but you can feel confident that it is a trustworthy source.

Make sure each and every source you plan on using in your paper or research assignment passes the CRAAP test.

 

Evaluate your sources: The CRAAP Test

Watch the brief video below to see how this works.

Search Smarter

You don't want to wade through millions of Web pages. By using a few tricks, you can focus your searches relatively easily to those authoritative, reliable sources you want to use.

  • Use key search terms - Use the same search terms you used successfully to find books and articles.
  • Know your search tool - Use advanced search features to control your search. For example you can limit your search in Google to just search government or educational Web sites by limiting to a specific domain. Learn more at Google for Researchers.
  • Use search tools you can trust - Google Scholar indexes scholarly literature on the Web.

You can search Google Scholar below:

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Google Scholar Search

Choose Web Resources Wisely

Learn to choose your Web resources wisely in this video by Prentiss Price-Evans.