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Sociology Capstone: How Do I?

Citation Formats

ASA - American Sociology Association

ASA Style Quick Guides by Trinity College (printable pdf)

CRAAP Test

Evaluation Criteria

Criteria for evaluating web sources and other academic writing. 

Currency: the timeliness of the information

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Is the information current or out-of date for your topic?
  • Are the links functional?

Relevance: the importance of the information for your needs

  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)?
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?
  • Would you be comfortable using this source for a research paper?

Authority: the source of the information

  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • Are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?
  • What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?
  • What are the author's qualifications to write on the topic?
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or e-mail address?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?
    • examples: .com (commercial), .edu (educational), .gov (U.S. government), .org (nonprofit organization), or .net (network)

Accuracy: the reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content

  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
  • Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
  • Does the language or tone seem biased and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?

Purpose: the reason the information exists

  • What is the purpose of the information? to inform? teach? sell? entertain? persuade?
  • Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Is the information fact? opinion? propaganda?
  • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?

By scoring each category on a scale from 1 to 10 (1 = worst, 10=best possible) you can give a quality grade on a 50 point scale. 

45 - 50 Excellent | 40 - 44 Good | 35 - 39 Average | 30 - 34 Borderline Acceptable | Below 30 - Unacceptable

Developed by the librarians at California State University, Chico. Printable evaluation criteria.

Citation Management Tools

Zotero

The most robust version of this tool operates a plug-in for the Firefox and Chrome browser.  The tool allows users to organize citations from databases and web browsing, store the library citations on a local hard drive, removable storage, or remote web page.  Stored citations can be added directly to papers and bibliographies using a plug-in for MS Word and OpenOffice. Paper Machines is a plug in for Zotero which allows you to visualize the data held within your profile using word clouds, topic modeling, phrase nets, and geoparsing.

EasyBib 

MLA, APA, and Chicago/Turabian citations available on any browser and available for mobile devices (iTunes/Android). EasyBib is capable of exporting bibliographies for placement in Word documents. 

The Bedford Handbook by Diana Hacker

This section of The Bedford Handbook companion site will take you to advice about finding sources in different disciplines and documenting sources in MLA, APA, Chicago, and CBE styles.

Evaluating Resources

The relevance and quality of a resource should be evaluated. Look for:

Authority of Authors - are they experts in the field? are they respected?
Scope of Content - does the text cover your needs?
Timeliness - is the time period covered relevant? has there been newer material published?

Annotating PDFs

Professional Writing

Cited Reference Searching

Web of Science 

Enter the author's name, year published, or topic of the article. Search. The index of cited references will display how to locate the article and the amount of times cited.  

Interlibrary Loan

Beloit College has access to over 1 million volumes outside of the building. Request materials (books, DVDs, articles) via the catalog using the Request Item through Interlibrary Loan button when not found in our catalog. More information