Lesson: Evaluating Credibility

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Evaluating Credibility

1. As a group, we consider things which make an author an authority in their particular field and the context of their subject, publications, research, employment, etc. We choose an author from readings done in the first unit for simplicity.

2. Has the author’s work been peer reviewed? If so, and it’s an academic source, is it credible? What does peer reviewed mean? If not, what kind of source is it? What makes different sources credible both in their individual conversations and for the research project? Audience, context, type of publication, date of publication, works cited/consulted, etc.

3. How do you think bias impacts a source’s credibility? Should sources acknowledge bias? Do you “hold it against them’ if they don’t?

4. For our research project, we purposefully look at different stakeholders, each with their own rhetorical strategies, for a given issue, even though these sources may not be typically juxtaposed in traditional research papers. In groups, brainstorm the benefits and the limitations of gathering such a wide range of voices for our project. How does it impact how you think about your topic?

5. As a large group, we then discuss the smaller group’s findings. After we reflect, I like to move the discussion towards the “real world’ and the benefits of being rhetorically aware of the ways in which text and communication is honed to specific situations and audiences, and how best to appropriately choose information and use it ethically to best effect.

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