Think about a work-related problem you might like to solve, either from your current role or one you’d like to hold. What would you change? Why does it need to be changed? How would you change it?
Your proposal topic can be a phrase, a thesis sentence, or a paragraph, as long as it’s clear what your topic is and what direction you will take.
First, What are Credible Sources?
As savvy internet users, we know good sources. We may not always go to them for answers, but we know what they are and how to access them. Before you begin researching, think about the best types of sources, generally and specifically, for the topic you plan to write about.
It’s important to ensure that the sources you use not only prove your points, but that they’re also credible. Another way to think about credibility is the word “believable.” A good question to ask yourself, when looking at a source is, “Why should I believe what this writer is saying?” The answer(s) to this question should focus on the expertise of the author. If the author is not an expert, then how is the source credible? If you cannot prove that the writer is an expert, do not use the source.
When answering one or more of the questions in the discussion section on finding credible and relevant sources, list a few possible places you know to go for evidence and why you know they’re good (credible/relevant) for your topic.
A2. Plan for Finding Sources
What platforms and databases should you search? Will you use a scholarly database, like one from the WGU library? Will you use a Google search? Those are examples of platforms and databases.
What publications and sites will you use? Online newspapers, for example? A tech industry e-magazine? A government website?
What search terms and/or phrases will you use?
A3. Evaluation of sources
Sample APA entries to guide you:
Nuno, D. (n.d.). 3 Ways to Excite and Encourage Girls in STEM in Your Classroom. https://www.wgu.edu/heyteach/article/3-ways-excite-and-encourage-girls-stem-your-classroom1803.html
Berwick, C. (March 12, 2019 ). Keeping Girls in STEM:3 barriers, 3 solutions. https://www.edutopia.org/article/keeping-girls-stem-3-barriers-3-solutions
Bias: Bias is like a scale. If a source does not consider both sides of a topic or argument, if they’re emotionally skewing toward one side, or if they simply say the other side is incorrect from the start, then there is some level of bias. It’s hard not to find some bias in a source, but we want to avoid sources that slide too far one way on the bias scale. For this task, you’ll want to be able to recognize bias in a piece and avoid any that are overly biased. Often, bias and credibility are closely related because an overly biased source isn’t credible, even if the author is an expert. While you will discuss the levels of credibility in your sources and have a few with higher bias than others, be sure that they’re all close to being as unbiased as possible and credible at the same time.
Credibility: This section tells why the author or organization who wrote the article (if there is no author) is credible (their degrees, where they went to school, what research they do, what their job titles are). If there is more than one author for a source, you only have to write about ONE of them.
Example: “Johnson is credible because he has a PhD in education from the University of Arizona.”
Relevance: This section explains how the source will be used in the proposal (Task 4). Think about how it will be used as evidence to prove points throughout, like the need for funding, change, etc. The relevance sentence will begin like this: “This source is relevant because….”
A4. Explaining Source Strength:
While all of your sources must be strong and credible, this is the section where you’ll make a case for choosing three of your sources. Be specific, giving examples of what makes the source a strong one. You might keep notes as you research and work on the previous parts of the task to remind yourself why you chose each one, and consider ranking them, along the way. It might also be helpful to note passages that work best in each one, to help strengthen your proposal (Task 4).
As you research, think about what you’re learning and problems you come across, to help in the reflection section of this task. While there is no “incorrect” answer for a reflection, it’s important to be specific and give examples.
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