When you are looking for resources, try asking yourself how you will use them to make your argument.
Background Sources - Materials that provide an overview of a topic, such as core concepts and facts.
Exhibit Sources - Materials used to provide evidence for your argument.
Argument Sources - Materials that provide arguments from other authors that you agree with, disagree with, or build upon.
Method Sources - Materials you follow to determine how you are going to do your research.
Depending on your research assignment, try to find sources that fit in each of the BEAM categories. Also consider how you are going to use your resources when you read them and take notes.
When looking at an information source, try asking yourself the Five W's.
Currency: the timeliness of the information
Relevance: the importance of the information for your needs
Authority: the source of the information
Accuracy: the reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content
Purpose: the reason the information exists
By scoring each category on a scale from 1 to 10 (1 = worst, 10=best possible) you can give each site a grade on a 50 point scale for how high quality it is!
45 - 50 Excellent | 40 - 44 Good | 35 - 39 Average | 30 - 34 Borderline Acceptable | Below 30 - Unacceptable