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First Year Seminars: FYS 142-1 Rock Films and American Culture

The Research Process

Helpful Library Research Tools

Reference Sources (for finding background info)
Article Databases
Find Books Using MUSCAT Plus and WorldCat

Primary Sources

See additional newspaper and magazine archive collections on the Newspapers and Magazines research guides.

Evaluate Information Sources

Evaluating Sources

Think critically about information sources that you use. Here are a few things to consider when evaluating sources…

Who wrote it and why?

  • What qualifies the author(s) to write about the topic?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • What is the purpose -- to inform / entertain / persuade / summarize / report new findings?
  • What is the context in which it was written?

How does it support your research question?

  • What do you know now that you didn’t know before reading it?
  • What does the source argue or demonstrate that none of your other sources do?
  • What questions remain or what new questions are raised when considering the information?

What makes it reliable?

  • What evidence did the author use to support his/her claims?
  • Have other people cited or referenced it?
  • How might someone dismiss it?
  • Who had to approve or review it before it could be published?

Scholarly vs. Popular Sources

For much of the research that you do at Gettysburg College, professors will request that you use scholarly articles (from peer-reviewed journals, rather than popular magazines and websites.) If you need help telling the difference, see this guide on the library website.