My aim is to use a variety of databases with the majority coming from peer-reviewed publications or from professional/industry publications. I do not plan on using blogs for this course. However, I still plan on using popular credible sources.
While these works are not peer-reviewed, they do undergo a fact-checking process and editorial review, and the information published is credible. According to Anna Eisen (2014), scholars also write for websites, blogs and magazines. Also, a current events issue may be better covered in a newspaper article than a scholarly journal (Eisen 2014). It is important to remember, though, that a news reporter only has a limited amount of time to research and understand a situation (Eisen 2014). It is also important to note that not all newspapers or magazines published are credible. Some of the more widely respected popular credible periodicals are the New York Times, the Washington Post, Scientific American, The Economist, The New Yorker, the Los Angeles Times, and The Atlantic. I plan on using these in my report. On the other hand, I plan not to use periodicals like The Huffington Post, The National Enquirer, the Washington Times, and the New York Daily News as they are generally less credible and less respected. In general, while dealing with popular credible sources, it is not possible to find publications that are wholly free from bias. Additionally, I plan to use the websites of companies but will need to keep an eye out for greenwashing and understand that the ultimate goal of the website is to portray the business in a good light. I need to identify the bias presented in the all of my sources, ensure that it is not extreme, and then consult other sources.
I typically use jstor.org to find the majority of my sources because it is a great database for scientific journals. While determining the credibility of peer-reviewed sources, I start by looking at the date the source was published. The more recent, the better. Another method for determining the reliability of an online source is to see whether there are multiple authors of a specific article. A source having multiple authors indicates in-depth literature review and/or original research conduction. I also look at abstract and conclusion sections. That way, in the case of dealing with many sources for a research project, I can efficiently gather the main ideas of each article. I use the abstract and conclusion to determine whether the argument is logical and pertinent to my topic. In the abstract, I can also determine whether the methods used to arrive at the conclusion are sound and appropriate to include in my own research paper. Additionally, investigating the citations within the article is useful. Not only does it confirm the source is reliable, but it also opens up the possibility of discovering additional articles to use in my own research paper. In the case a certain set of information from a peer-reviewed article is particularly useful, I can look into the source it is derived from and find a third useful citation within the second article. The benefit infinitely continues.
Eisen, Anna. 2014. “Research 101: Why Format Matters.” YouTube, June 5. Audio 3:41. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKQSQgdUAu4
Comment by Kyle Pesek:
Depending on your Report topic, you might also benefit from sources such as local, state, and/or federal regulatory agencies for contextual background statistics. For instance, my topic focuses heavily on renewable energy implementation. Therefore, citations needing the current or historical breakdowns of national energy usage will find plenty of graphical representations provided by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (US EIA 2022). If I only needed state-level reports for my analysis, I could rely upon the Colorado Energy Office in order to gain more specific information that will engage the audience through greater levels of personal relevancy (CEO 2022). Otherwise, it appears that you are already on-track with the accumulation of other data sources such as peer-reviewed articles and research reports.
Colorado Energy Office. 2022. “Energy Policy.” CEO. https://energyoffice.colorado.gov/climate-energy/energy-policy (Links to an external site.).
U.S. Energy Information Administration. 2022. “Today in Energy.” EIA, January 14. https://www.eia.gov/ (Links to an external site.).