When people write in the workplace, they often have to decide how to solve problems based on conflicting evidence. Part of what will help you be successful at finding the best solutions will be getting the best evidence. The Modern Language Association (MLA) suggests we focus on three things when trying to determine the reliability and quality of sources (see Modern Language Association (2009).

1. Authority

Here you are looking to see how credible the author is and what their bias might be. You are encouraged to use resources like ProQuest in the SHARC library. It is suggested that you use resources that are peer reviewed.

Questions to ask in determining authority:
Is the article has been professionally edited or is it simply someone’s personal blog?
Is it a corporate source with a particular bias?
Is the author an established expert in the field with other publications or credentials like degrees, or years of strong work experience?

2. Accuracy

This is an area where APA format comes in handy. By adding in sources that you can track down and verify–like you can with APA citations–you can establish if something is true or not.

Questions to ask in determining accuracy:
Does the article have citations?
Can you check the claims?

3. Currency

Checking the publication date can help you know if you are getting solid up-to-date information. Some areas change faster than others such as computer science, healthcare, and anything else driven by technology.

Questions to ask in determining currency:
Is the publication date recent?
Are more up-to-date resources available?


For this assignment you will find two sources that relate to your paper topic and evaluate them in regards to the criteria above.

We have provided some sources listed below. You may use these sources in your essay if you like, but you must also find at least one other source on your own. You need to have a minimum of two (2) sources for this assignment and in your final essay.
Evaluate each of your two sources for authority, accuracy, and currency to support the topic angle you used in the pre-writing discussion. For each source, give a value on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being very weak and 10 being very strong) for each of the three areas to evaluate and then explain briefly why you think that.

The following sources can be used in your rough draft due in Week 3. These are optional, but provide some very useful information. If you choose to use one of these sources, you must also find a source of your own to include in this assignment.
Sanburn, Josh. “Higher Education Poll.”

Higher-Education Poll

Wallace, David F. “This Is Water.”

Professor X. “In the Basement of the Ivory Tower.”

Menand, Louis. “Live and Learn.”

Perlstein, Rick. “What’s the Matter with College?”

Addison, Liz. “Two Years Are Better Than Four."

Coleman, Liz. “Liz Coleman’s Call to Reinvent Liberal Arts Education.”

Deresiewicz, William. "The Disadvantages of an Elite Education."

The Disadvantages of an Elite Education

Williams, Alex. "Saying No to College."