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Academic Writing

This guide provides information about academic writing resources

Evaluate Your Resources

All information used for your studies and academic writing needs to undergo an evaluation process.

The following criteria can be used for the evaluation of information and it is important to remember that some information sources are more reliable and complete that others.

Reliability of the Source
The authority and credibility of the information is established by the credentials of the author(s) and the publication. The quality of information may vary according to the reliability of its source.

Articles: can be published in trade publications, magazines and in refereed or scholarly journals which have the most academic credibility. Use Ulrichsweb to check if the journal publication is refereed or peer-reviewed.

Publisher: Check to see if the publisher is associated with a university press or a commercial publisher.

Web Pages: Check the domain name to determine the authority of a site. Be wary as domain names do not always represent the true nature of an organisation.

.com

commerical

www.sony.com.au Sony Australia

.edu

educational

www.ecu.edu.au Edith Cowan University

.ac

academic

www.ox.ac.uk University of Oxford

.gov

government

www.wa.gov.au Western Australian Government

.org

organisation

www.apa.org American Psychological Association

.net

network organisation

www.aspe.net American Society for Precision Engineering

 

Validity
Access the validity of information by asking what process was used to gather and analyse the information content. Is it authentic? Factual? Consistent with professional and industry standards? Check digital images for validity as they can be easily manipulated.

Accuracy
Is the information supported by references, in-text citations and can you check that this is correct by reading the original publication. Can the information be verified and has it been edited correctly?

Authority
Who is the author of the information and what is their affiliation with an institution or organisation? What are the qualifications and experiences of the authors. Can you determine who the author is, and their level of subject expertise?

Timeliness
An indication of when an information source was created, published and updated is a mark of timeliness and currency. Some information sources, such a business and finance news needs to be constantly updated versus other sources that remain valid over time, such as historical documents. Be aware that currency of information may be a determining factor in what is suitable to use for your assignment.

Point of View
There is a range of evaluation questions that can be asked to establish the point of view of your information source. Can you determine the purpose of the information? It is bias and has it been presented in a way to persuade readers? Has any information been excluded?
Use a range of publications to gain a perspective and deeper understanding of all aspects of a topic as you may need to be able to demonstrate alternative viewpoints, arguments and explain why you disagree. What is the stylistic nature of the language and it is objective, specific, vague, emotional or too general?

Evaluation Checklist

What are the author's credentials?
What are the website's credentials?
Intellectual level of the article ... is it academic or scholarly?
When was the page last updated?
Is the information factual, biased, or propaganda?
Can you verify the information through other sources?

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Edith Cowan University acknowledges and respects the Nyoongar people, who are the traditional custodians of the land upon which its campuses stand and its programs operate.
In particular ECU pays its respects to the Elders, past and present, of the Nyoongar people, and embrace their culture, wisdom and knowledge.