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ENGL 015: Rhetoric and Composition (Abington)

This guide is for ENGL 015 students at the Penn State Abington campus learn how to search for and evaluate sources for their assignments.

Finding Credible Websites

Questions to consider when evaluating websites:

  • Purpose – Look for an “About this site” link/section. Is the purpose of the website to solicit something? Do you see adds that could suggest bias? Could they have sponsored the research?

  • Accuracy – Do you see citations or works cited listed? Is there evidence to back up claims or is the information opinion based? Are there spelling/grammatical errors?

  • Authority: Author – Is there an individual credited for the website? Who are they? What are their credentials?

  • Authority: Publisher – Who runs this website? How does the site pay for its existence?

  • Relevance – Does this information make sense for your research? Does the intended audience match your purposes?

  • Currency – Look for a latest revision or last updated date/year listed.

**TIP:  Conduct perimeter scans (look along the edges – top, bottom, sides – of the website) to quickly find the answers to these questions and evaluate the information!

Computer monitor with the word search in multi colors

Expert Tip:

Use Google's site command to search specific websites and domains. 

Identifying & Using Articles in College Research

Scholarly, Trade, & Popular Articles

Many ENGL 015 courses require students to use scholarly or professional/trade articles as sources. Check out the worksheet below for a quick breakdown of the characteristics of these types of sources. 

How to Read & Use Scholarly Articles

Scholarly articles can be intimidating to read and dissect for your college level papers. Use the links below for tips on where to find different pieces of information and how to best approach reading a lengthy peer reviewed, scholarly article.

ACTIVITYUse the following worksheet & article to practice deconstructing a scholarly, peer reviewed article.