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FREN 431: French Culture Seminar: Other Tips

Evaluate

Ask these questions to get a sense for whether your source is reliable:

  • Ask who is responsible for the information.
    Are they qualified to teach you? What are their qualifications? Do they have a name, and can you contact them? Why are they providing this information?

  • Ask whether the information can be verified.
    Do other sources agree? Are they providing citations so you can follow their research?

  • Ask how current the information is.
    Has the field of research changed significantly since the information was published? Does the research deal with all relevant discoveries or information? If the information is several years old, what holes might exist in the research? Can you fill these holes with other sources?

  • Ask whether the information is objective.
    Does it present both sides of an issue? Is it designed to persuade you? Does anything about the information seem fishy?

Saving Your Research

On the Web

Many databases allow or even encourage the formation of an account.  These accounts allow you to do everything from saving specific resources to saving entire searches, which can be handy if it takes you a while to find the perfect combination of keywords and search limiters.  They often allow you to email resources to yourself, which makes for a solid backup if something were to happen to your database account.  For major projects, making an account is definitely something to take into consideration.

On Your Device

If you want to download and save your resources as .PDFs, make sure you keep them all in an easy-to-find folder with consistent labeling.  Instead of keeping them as random strings of numbers, consider naming them by title, author.title, author.subject, or some other way that makes sense to you.  When you are in the midst of writing, it's extremely unhelpful to have to spend a long period of time searching through randomly named documents for the one you need, only to have to do so again when you need a different one.

Websites