Week 2 Discussion Guide: Tuesday--"source quality and source handling, and constructing the academic author's ethical authority"
Click here to review the list of criteria for evaluating the quality sources that are not peer-reviewed. Remember, your recommendation can be no more reliable than the quality of the sources upon which you base your findings. Then, check out these Web-based product reviews and evaluate them for reliability. Form groups of two or three and test one type of review for quality. What do we know about the review's author(s)? Should we believe or doubt them?
When you have found sources, do you know when to quote directly from them and when to paraphrase or summarize them? This workshop on a Wall Street Journal article will help us decide what makes a source's ideas "quotable" and when they should be paraphrased (reworded without quotations but with a citation) or summarized (condensed in your own words, with a citation).
Basic Rules for Scholarly Use Search Tools: What is the difference between "search engines" and "databases of sources" which they search? How can being aware of that difference help us deal with two kinds of unhappy search results, zero sources or too many sources?
Basic Rules for Academic Prose "Tone"--how you sound to your readers: Much of your paper's persuasive power depends on how it presents its support to its readers and how it addresses its readers. Try to stick to third person ("he/she/they") rather than first person ("I") though first-person statements are important in some kinds of academic writing. Avoid using second person address ("you"), which is informal and, to some academic readers, offensively intimate. "Support" comes in various kinds, but the writer's best internal source of support is the use of evidence from the best quality sources. High quality sources help you present to readers what classical Greek rhetoricians called "an ethical persona," one of three elements speakers and writers can use to persuade their audiences. You must construct and protect your own ethical persona. Do not sound like you are representing a single product, or only paying attention to evidence that supports your thesis while ignoring contrary evidence--"serve your readers" by representing your best readers' needs and concerns.
If we have time at the end of class, we try out searches for the best sources for some of your products/readers. That should not prevent you from improving your research right now!