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CMN432 Professional Communications for Engineers

Course Companion for CMN432

How to Evaluate your Sources

The PARCA Test. 

Purpose:

Why does this resource exist?

  • What is the purpose? Is it to teach, sell, promote, entertain?
  • Do the author(s) make their intentions clear? Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, or personal biases?
  • Is the information provided by the resource fact, opinion?
  • Does it have a variety of viewpoints and arguments? Do your sources reflect different genders, ages, ethnic groups, languages, nationalities, disciplines, etc.?

Authority:

Who wrote/produced/published the resource?

  • Is the source published by an academic publisher or a reputable organization?
  • Is an author clearly identified? What are the author’s credentials or organizational affiliations?
  • Is the author qualified to write on the topic? Degrees, professional designations, professional accomplishments and experience are indicators of qualifications.
  • If it is a website, does the url reveal anything about the source (.com, .gov, .edu, .org)

Relevance:

Does the resource meet your needs?

  • Is the information related to your topic?
  • Does it support your viewpoint or provide an alternate one?
  • Is the information and discussion at an appropriate level? Who is the intended audience (general population, scholars, practitioners etc.)?

Currency:

How current is the resource?

  • When was the resource published or posted?
  • Is this the most current version of this information available?
  • Has the information been revised / updated? Is there proof of last update, publication date?
  • Is currency of information a concern for your topic?

Accuracy:

Is the information in the resource reliable?

  • Are the author’s claims supported by evidence?
  • Has the content been reviewed by other experts? Is it a peer-reviewed resource?
  • Are the language and tone biased?
  • Are there spelling or grammatical errors?

 Here’s a PARCA handout you can keep.

 

PARCA Test

One way of critically evaluating sources found on the Internet is to subject them to the PARCA Test. 

 

Purpose:

Why does this resource exist?

  • What is the purpose? Is it to teach, sell, promote, entertain?
  • Do the author(s) make their intentions clear? Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, or personal biases?
  • Is the information provided by the resource fact, opinion?
  • Does it have a variety of viewpoints and arguments? Do your sources reflect different genders, ages, ethnic groups, languages, nationalities, disciplines, etc.?

Authority:

Who wrote/produced/published the resource?

  • Is the source published by an academic publisher or a reputable organization?
  • Is an author clearly identified? What are the author’s credentials or organizational affiliations?
  • Is the author qualified to write on the topic? Degrees, professional designations, professional accomplishments and experience are indicators of qualifications.
  • If it is a website, does the url reveal anything about the source (.com, .gov, .edu, .org)

Relevance:

Does the resource meet your needs?

  • Is the information related to your topic?
  • Does it support your viewpoint or provide an alternate one?
  • Is the information and discussion at an appropriate level? Who is the intended audience (general population, scholars, practitioners etc.)?

Currency:

How current is the resource?

  • When was the resource published or posted?
  • Is this the most current version of this information available?
  • Has the information been revised / updated? Is there proof of last update, publication date?
  • Is currency of information a concern for your topic?

Accuracy:

Is the information in the resource reliable?

  • Are the author’s claims supported by evidence?
  • Has the content been reviewed by other experts? Is it a peer-reviewed resource?
  • Are the language and tone biased?
  • Are there spelling or grammatical errors?

 Here’s a PARCA handout you can keep.