SOURCE EVALUATION English 105
LENGTH: 500-750 words (2-3 pages); the works-cited page does not count toward fulfilling this requirement; papers may exceed this length limit.
PRELIMINARY REQUIREMENTS: The source you choose must be one that you have discovered through your preliminary research and that you will use in your final paper. Prepare a jotted list of qualities that make your source effective. Rereading the section of HCR on evaluating sources (pages 65-77) should give you some ideas.
SOURCE REQUIREMENTS: This source must be (1) a book or collection of essays; (2) a major article from a magazine, journal, or newspaper; or (3) a lengthy Internet source from a reputable scholarly website. Using something brief or shallow will not provide you with sufficient material for discussion.
SPECIAL USE OF SOURCES: To demonstrate that you are working toward competency in the use and documentation of a source, you must incorporate materials in a variety of ways: (a) factual information from your source, (b) paraphrased material, (c) a brief, in-text quotation, and (d) a long, set-off quotation. Obviously, you may use some of these techniques more than others.
DOCUMENTATION: Use parenthetical notes to acknowledge your source in the paper itself, according to MLA style; see HCR 149-190 for explanations and samples.Your works-cited page will include only one source for this paper, unless you are citing a book with an introduction written by someone other than the author, or you are citing more than one essay in anthology of essays.
GENERAL REMARKS: Attend carefully to technical matters: accuracy of facts and quotations, parenthetical documentation, work-cited form, grammar, usage, spelling, and punctuation. However, do not lose sight of that fact that you are critiquing a source—so a clear, convincing, and well-written paper should also be your goal.
CONTENT: You should introduce the source by describing the type it is, leading to a thesis on its quality. In the body of the paper (the critique), consider the qualifications of the author, the source’s accessibility for someone at your basic level of expertise, the kinds of information that will help you, or any of the other source evaluation criteria in HCR. The word critique here does not mean you should be negative. It means you are assessing the quality of the source for you. You can criticize if necessary, but since you should use a good source, be positive as well. Be sure to also include how this source could help you develop and support your thesis, or if you are still searching for a focused thesis how this source can help you to formulate one.
MANUSCRIPT REQUIREMENTS: Your paper must be prepared according to MLA manuscript guidelines; see HCR 197-207 for an annotated sample research paper.
PLAGIARISM: Plagiarists use someone else’s words, ideas, or sentence structure without giving proper credit through documentation. Plagiarism will result in a failing grade for the paper, and consequently the course.