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Sociology

Designed with Sociology students in mind, this guide highlights information resources to enhance your research.

How to Evaluate Information

Here is an easy way to remember what to look for when evaluating the information that you find. These questions will help you assess what you might find most useful.

CARS: Credibility, Accuracy, Reasonableness, Support

 

Credibility. Is this source trustworthy? What are the author’s credentials? Is he or she known or a respected authority on this topic?  Is there evidence of quality control?   Goal: an authoritative source, a source that supplies some good evidence that allows you to trust it.

Accuracy. Is the informatio up to date, factual, detailed, exact, comprehensive? What is the intended audience and purpose? Does it reflect intentions of completeness and accuracy. Goal: a source that is correct today (not yesterday), a source that gives the whole truth.

Reasonableness.  Is the presentation fair, balanced, objective, reasoned? Can you find that the author has no conflict of interest? Is there an absence of fallacies or slanted tone. Goal: a source that engages the subject thoughtfully and reasonably, concerned with the truth.

Support:  Does this information provide background sources or references? Is there contact information for the author? Are claims supported, documentated and corroborated?. Goal: a source that provides convincing evidence for the claims made, a source you can triangulate (that is are you able to find at least two other sources (non web) that support it). 

taken from VIrtual Salt. Robert Harris http://www.virtualsalt.com/evalu8it.htm

Resources on the Web

US Census (for statistical data)

http://www.census.gov/#  >People > Keywords: disability, immigration, race, same sex couples, etc.

briefs and reports: summary of specific population.

USA.gov

http://www.usa.gov  Use this site to locate governmental agencies and services.

(e.g. search “disability rights” or “immigration reform” or “policy”

FedStats

http://www.fedstats.gov  Searchable by state, topic or agency

Civil Rights Project. UCLA

http://civilrightsproject.ucla.edu Research or Publications.

 

Federation for American Immigration Reform

http://www.fairus.org

Great resource for overview regarding immigration issues

National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights

http://www.nnirr.org/

 

Migration Policy Institute

http://www.migrationpolicy.org Excellent resource with maps, data, etc.

 

Population Reference Bureau

http://www.prb.org/DataFinder.aspx Search indicators to create custom reports at county level.

 

APA definitions:

Sexual Orientation: http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/sexual-orientation.aspx

Disability: http://www.apa.org/topics/disability/index.aspx

Immigration: http://www.apa.org/topics/immigration/index.aspx

Socioeconomic Status: http://www.apa.org/topics/socioeconomic-status/index.aspx