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CHEM 3370: Perspectives on Science and Mathematics | Mason: Evaluating Sources

A guide to finding and using resources for assignments in CHEM 3370

One of the most important factors to keep in mind when evaluating information is that reliability lies on a spectrum, and the type of search you're doing will determine where on the reliability spectrum you should look for information. For instance, if you're writing a paper about the stock market for an economics class, you'll want sources on the scholarly end of the spectrum; if you're writing about the crash of 1929 for a history class, it is more likely you can use sources from the middle of the spectrum.

The picture above demonstrates a few things you may notice as you begin your research:

  • There are fewer sources on the more reliable end
  • The more popular sources look prettier
  • It's really challenging to wade through the volume of information that is less reliabe

Google Scholar

Google is great for daily searching, but try Google Scholar for academic research. Google Scholar utilizes their search engines specifically across more scholarly sources, such as academic publishers, professional societies, repositories, university websites, and more.  You’ll find relevant articles, books, abstracts, theses, and more.  Instead of their typical Google algorithms, Google Scholar uses rankings more similar to the scholars, with more weight given to the full text of documents, who wrote it, where it was published, and how it has been cited in other scholarly literature.

Start at scholar.google.com, or simply Google, Google Scholar.

1. Click on Settings to adjust how you view and use search results, pick languages, select a library to link to, see your Google account, and add a Scholar Button to your browser.

2. Use My Library, My Citations, and Alerts to manage your research; use Metrics to help  evaluate journals to which you may consider contributing your own work.

3. Click on the arrow in the search box to pull up advanced search options, including Boolean operators, or author, journal, or date search.

Using the Library Links option in Settings can save you time by automatically linking to UT Tyler  library resources. You can also see the Import into and Save options; if you click More, you’ll also get an option for Cite.

 

The C.R.A.A.P. Test