Research and Documentation

Research and Documentation Zhelana Vovkivna (mka Danielle Skoog) facebook: Zhelana Skoog

Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Sources

Primary - written or drawn by someone who was there when the event took place. Archaeological evidence. This is the gold standard of historical research. Portraits, diaries, ledger books, baptism certificates, etc.

Secondary - written after the fact. Scholarly articles, SCA A&S projects, books, magazines, etc. Don’t neglect these. They are vitally important in research.

Tertiary - written overviews such as encyclopedias or dictionaries, wikipedia. Start here, and use their bibliography but don’t cite these as sources - dig deeper and find their source material and read that.

How to get a research paper without an academic library (it can take a little work):

What is Peer Review?

Peer review is a process that all published articles in reputable journals go through. Typically it means that 3 independent reviewers (peers) have read the paper and find it plausible. It doesn’t necessarily mean they agree with it, but they haven’t found any glaring errors in methodology, any arithmetic, or unsound conclusions based on data. These reviewers can either approve a piece, send it back for edits, or refuse it.

Using the CRAAP Method to Evaluate your Source Evaluation Criteria

Currency: The timeliness of the information. When was the information published or posted? Has the information been revised or updated? Does your topic require current information, or will older sources work as well? Are the links functional?

Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs. Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question? Who is the intended audience? Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)? Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use? Would you be comfortable citing this source in your research paper?

Authority: The source of the information. Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor? What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations? Is the author qualified to write on the topic? Is there contact information, such as a publisher or email address? Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source? examples: .com .edu .gov .org .net

Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content. Where does the information come from? Is the information supported by evidence? Has the information been reviewed or refereed? Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge? Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion? Are there spelling, grammar or typographical errors?

Purpose: The reason the information exists. What is the purpose of the information? Is it to inform, teach, sell, entertain or persuade? Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear? Is the information fact, opinion or propaganda? Does the point of view appear objective and impartial? Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional or personal biases?

Source for CRAAP guidelines