Source Evaluation Worksheet


This course requires you to write an argumentative paper. You will submit a topic and outline. Also, you will submit an annotated bibliography and source evaluation.

Use the Source Evaluation Worksheet to submit an annotated bibliography of 5 sources that you intend to use in your paper. Prepare a citation, annotation, and evaluation for each source.

You may collect the worksheets together as one document or you may submit a separate worksheet for each source.

Click on the following link for an example of an annotation.

For this assignment, address the following:

Choose one of the following topics:

Should hospital emergency departments be used to treat mental health patients?

Should the title “Doctor” be allowed used in clinical situations by nurses who have earned doctoral degrees?

Whether vaping is a safe alternative to smoking

Whether ketogenic diets pose a health risk

Whether coffee consumption is a health benefit or a health risk

Whether positive psychology therapy is effective?

The value of DNA therapies in treating cancer

Should technologies like CRISPR/Cas9 be used to eliminate genetic diseases (or create designer babies)?

In a brief thesis paragraph, state the claim you will be making in your paper.

Provide an outline for your paper including at least 3 main points that you will use to support your claim. The claim you are making in (2) is your conclusion. Write the supporting points in the form of premises for that conclusion

An introduction containing a thesis that states the issue, your position on the issue, what the paper will cover, and in what order

At least 2 paragraphs that each contain a well-supported (and documented) claim or sub-argument that will provide strong support for your fallacy-free argument

At least 1 paragraph discussing a documented, reasonable counterclaim to your position that needs to be a legitimate claim that someone has actually made as a counter-position on your issue

At least 1 paragraph offering a reasonable, documented response to that counterclaim

A conclusion that summarizes the argument and conclusion

Note: As you do your research, it is permissible to change your sources. Also, because of the recency and relevance of these issues, no sources older than 5 years should be used other than as historical information. Critical thinkers do the research first and then side with the preponderance of evidence. You might want to follow that principle.

Writing Requirements (APA format)

Length: 750-1000 words – approx. 3-4 pages (not including title page or references page)

1-inch margins

Double spaced

12-point Times New Roman font

Title page

References page (5 sources)

Week 5 Source Evaluation Worksheet

First read the notes that begin on p. 2 of this handout and the table on p. 3. Then, complete the analysis for each of your sources.

1. Using APA format, identify the source and write a concise annotation that summarizes the central theme and scope of the book or article. A sample annotation can be found in the directions for this assignment.

2. Use the following criteria to evaluate each source:

a. How current is this the source you are using? (If not current – explain why information is still applicable)

b. How authoritative, credible, reliable? (For example: recognized expert; peer-reviewed journal; trusted site such as .edu, .gov, .mil; experienced and knowledgeable in the field; information consistent across several sources, etc.)

c. Briefly state specifically how this source provides evidence that strongly supports your conclusion. For example, “the article discusses significant evidence that this diet provides all essential nutrients and supports my view that the diet is healthy” “this study shows that this diet is deficient in vitamin D and supports my point that this diet is not healthy” “this survey revealed that obesity is on a rapid rise among all demographic groups and supports my view that obesity is epidemic”

d. If the information is “popular” or if it is from a blog, from a marketing site, or is persuasive in nature (i.e., an editorial or opinion piece, or a publication of a special interest group such as a trade organization, union, etc.) explain why you are using the source and why you cannot use a more substantive or scholarly source.

Evaluating Sources – Notes

1. Rate your journal and periodical sources (whether you are looking at hard copy or on-line) as scholarly, substantive or popular. The Table “Distinguishing between Scholarly and Non-scholarly Periodicals” will work for evaluating either print or on-line journals, newspapers, and periodicals.

2. Beware of bias in any specific article. Determine if the source is authoritative, credible, reliable, current and unbiased. (If not current, then information can be rated “valid, regardless of age,” — i.e., a 1999 web-based article on the American Civil War is not “current”, but can be “valid regardless of age.”) All sources should be authoritative, credible, reliable, current and unbiased. If bias is found, state if bias may or may not affect the credibility and reliability of the information you will use and how you will compensate for possible bias.

3. For websites, generally speaking, .gov and .mil sites are acceptable sources in academic papers. Most .edu websites will be acceptable, but analyze under the criteria in 2 above.

4. If the website is a .com, .org or .biz website, you must further evaluate for authority, reliability and credibility. Never use a .com, .org or .biz site without evaluating across these criteria. Be especially careful about blogs – generally speaking, don’t use them. Many newspaper and magazines also publish to websites; evaluate those just as you would a journal or periodical.

a. Authoritative

· Who are the author(s)?

· Are they recognized experts in their field? – check the column or google the author’s name?

· What is the level of education of the author? Experience? Knowledge of the subject?

· Is the information at a level appropriate to an upper-level academic paper?

b. Credible

· How does the information compare to other, similar information? Always look for more than one source – verify that all points of view are represented

c. Reliable

· Is it timely?

· Does it come from a trusted source?

Distinguishing Between Scholarly and Non-Scholarly Publications





American Journal of Nursing


New England Journal of Medicine

American Journal of Kidney Diseases

National Geographic

Psychology Today

NY Times

The Atlantic


Vanity Fair

Huffington Post

USA Today

Purpose & Use

· Knowledge dissemination

· Reports of original research

· in-depth topic analysis

· Statistical information

· For profit

· Current events and news

· Introduces a subject

· Interviews

· Analysis and opinion

· For profit

· Current events and news

· Overview of topic

· Entertainment

· Sell products


· Reader knows the field (e.g., specialists)

· General audience

· General audience


· Researchers

· Academics

· Scholars

· Journalists

· Freelance writers

· Specialists or scholars

· Freelance writers

· Staff writers

· Journalists

Content & Language

· Description of research methods with conclusions

· Objective

· Assumes knowledge of language and specialist jargon

· Article may have a specific structure

· Usually peer-reviewed

· Explanation of a subject

· Interpretation of a research article

· May or may not be objective

· Use of non-technical vocabulary

· Shorter articles than in scholarly publications

· May be biased toward a particular point of view

· Less depth

· Everyday language

· Often written like a story


· Professional organizations

· University or scholarly presses

· Research institutions

· Commercial entities

· Trade and professional organizations

· Commercial entities

· Trade organizations


· Includes bibliography and/or notes

· Includes extensive citation of sources

· Includes author credentials

· Sometimes includes sources

· May / may not include author credentials

· Rarely includes citations of sources

· Rarely includes author credentials


· Includes graphs, charts, and tables

· Advertising is very rare

· Illustrated, often with photographs

· Advertising is present

· Heavily illustrated

· Lots of advertising

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