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English 160 &161: Introduction to Library Research

Spectrum of Sources Activity

Research is a conversation in which you engage with, interpret, synthesize and challenge different sources, ultimately adding your own voice to the conversation. The web is full of different source types that contribute different perspectives to the conversation, some more scholarly than others.

  1. What type of source is this/how would you label or categorize it?
  2. Quickly skim and compare the sources below in order to determine whether each source is either a scholarly or popular/mainstream source. Focus on overarching structure and components rather than close reading.
  3. Record 2 reasons for your decision about each item and prepare to report back to the group.
  4. What's useful about each source, and what are it's limitations?

Consider the following CRITERIA in your analysis:

  • STRUCTURE: Compare the physical characteristics of the items, such as length, sections, labeling, & graphics
  • TONE/STYLE: What does the writing style reflect about the purpose/intended audience of the article?
  • PURPOSE: To inform? Educate? Entertain? What audience is it aimed at?
  • AUTHOR: What can you tell about the author and their credentials/affiliations?

Source A

Source B

Source C

Source D

Subject Specific Databases: Architecture of Public Spaces