English Composition

Database Description
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      Evaluating Resources

Scholarly Journal Article Databases

Database Description
Academic Search Premier Academic Search Premier
An EBSCO database.
Biography In context Biography In context
Covers the world’s most notable contemporary and historical figures.
Literature Resource Center Literature Resource Center
For critical essays, book reviews and biographies.
Nexis Uni Nexis Uni (a.k.a. Lexis Nexis) 
For newspapers, business and law.
MEDLINE MEDLINE
For medical research (i.e., effect of stress, substance abuse, exercise, etc. on academic success)

Topic Overviews and Arguments

Database Description
CQ Researcher CQ Researcher
Current issue overviews, historical backgrounds, chronologies and pro/con lists.
Opposing Viewpoints in Context Opposing Viewpoints in Context
Current issues with pro/con viewpoint essays and topic overviews.
Global Issues in Context Global Issues in Context
Current issues with pro/con viewpoint essays and topic overviews.

Citation Resources

Resource Description
Knight Cite Knight Cite
A free citation maker from Calvin College
Purdue OWL Purdue OWL
Purdue University's website of extensive guidelines on citing your research paper

Free Document Delivery

If you need a book or journal article we do not have in print or online, fill out the form:
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    For a journal article
We'll get your research materials from other libraries through Interlibrary Loan/Document Delivery. There is no charge to MMA affiliates for this service.

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Susan Berteaux, 508.830.5035

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Evaluating Resource Credibility

Who is the author? Credible sources are written by authors respected in their fields of study. Responsible, credible authors will cite their sources so that you can check the accuracy of and support for what they've written. (This is also a good way to find more sources for your own research.)

How recent is the source? The choice to seek recent sources depends on your topic. While sources on the American Civil War may be decades old and still contain accurate information, sources on information technologies, or other areas that are experiencing rapid changes, need to be much more current.

What is the author's purpose? When deciding which sources to use, you should take the purpose or point of view of the author into consideration. Is the author presenting a neutral, objective view of a topic? Or is the author advocating one specific view of a topic? Who is funding the research or writing of this source? A source written from a particular point of view may be credible; however, you need to be careful that your sources don't limit your coverage of a topic to one side of a debate.

What type of sources does your audience value? If you are writing for a professional or academic audience, they may value peer-reviewed journals as the most credible sources of information. If you are writing for a group of residents in your hometown, they might be more comfortable with mainstream sources, such as Time or Newsweek. A younger audience may be more accepting of information found on the Internet than an older audience might be.

Be especially careful when evaluating Internet sources! Never use Web sites where an author cannot be determined, unless the site is associated with a reputable institution such as a respected university, a credible media outlet, government program or department, or well-known non-governmental organizations. Beware of using sites like Wikipedia, which are collaboratively developed by users. Because anyone can add or change content, the validity of information on such sites may not meet the standards for academic research.