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Module 1: Grammar Module 2: Sources Module 3: Structure
Home » Module 2 Unit 2: Evaluating sources » Potentially questionable sources - page 2/4
Unit 1:  About sourcesUnit 2: Evaluating sourcesUnit 3: Quoting & paraphrasingUnit 4: Reporting evidenceUnit 5: Referencing
 

These sources may be considered questionable or insufficient in some disciplines or areas of study.

Radio or TV programs More information...
Evidence taken from radio or TV programs is not necessarily information your reader has heard or seen. Unless the program appears in print-based form as an Internet transcript, it may be difficult for your reader to check and authenticate. The program may also have been intended for a non-academic or non-professional audience.
Popular magazines, newspapers or journals More...
Popular magazines and newspapers are aimed at non-academic audiences. The evidence they use may be anecdotal or speculative and below the level of reliability needed to convince an academic audience.
Outdated sources More...
Your reader wants to see that you are aware of the latest research on the topic you are writing about. Outdated and superseded sources may show that your research has not been very thorough, and that you are not aware of significant advances in the field.
Privately printed publications More...
Evidence from small, privately-printed publications may be considered questionable because of potential bias. Academically acceptable texts are usually published by well-established, reputable publishing companies or smaller specialist publishers of agreed high repute.
Publications funded by, or commissioned by, interest groups More...
These publications may be considered questionable because of potential bias. If a particular group is paying for research, it may also be in a position to influence the findings of the research.
Internet entries More...
The Internet has no particular academic status. Although it contains a lot of useful information, you need to be sure that evidence you take from it passes the same test as any other source of evidence. Evidence needs to come from reputable academic or organisational sources. Undated and/or unauthored Internet entries cannot be authenticated, and their content may be no more than personal opinion or experience.
Your personal experience or opinion More...
Part of the aim of your university experience is to take you beyond your own experience and opinion to engage with the research, knowledge and perspectives of others. Unless your assessment task specifically requires it, personal opinion may indicate a lack of thoroughness in your reading or a lack of willingness to engage with the perspectives of others.
Anecdotal information from friends, family, etc More...
This type of evidence is seen as just another type of personal opinion. In this case, it is not your own personal opinion or experience but the experience of people close to you. You need to broaden your perspectives with wide reading from a range of informed sources.
Primary sources only More...
Primary sources are often considered insufficient and lacking in academic authority when used alone. If you have not tried to expand your perspectives on the topic by consulting other (secondary or tertiary) sources, you may end up with only your personal opinion of the primary material.
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