Evaluating Sources – Coursework Example

Research: Evaluating Sources Research is defined as seeking through methodical processes to add to one’s own body of knowledge and hopefully to that of others by the discovery of non-trivial facts and insights (Sharp, Peters, & Howard, 2002). Original research therefore is one that actually adds to the existing knowledge rather than simply reporting conclusions that have been arrived at in a particular context and whose general relevance has not been addressed. It is done through experiments, interviews, observations in order to find, analyze and draw conclusions from data to inform or add to the existing knowledge (Sharp, Peters, & Howard, 2002). Empirical research is one that is based on observed and measured phenomena. This research reports on actual observations or experiments using quantitative research methods and may generate numerical data between two or more variables (Sharp, Peters, & Howard, 2002).
An article is research based if it is found in academic literature such as academic journals, popular magazines and professional journals and also may or may not contain the following sections: (1) Abstract and Introduction (2) Literature review (3) research problem and objectives (4) methods used to gather data (5) data analysis (6) discussion and conclusion (7) substantial list of references consulted throughout the article (NSU, 2010).
A scholarly source is one written for a scholarly audience. Textbooks are not considered scholarly sources because: (1) information presented in books is broad but not deep, that is facts are presented but no discussion of how they were arrived at; (2) the information is filtered and based on the author’s interpretation and not the actual work of the researcher who did the research (Vito & Tewksbury, 2008).
It is important to use scholarly sources for literature review because they contain information on individual research projects that is focused on a specific research question and the findings of the individual study on that research question and therefore the information is reliable for use in another research (Vito & Tewksbury, 2008).
Scholarly sources are peer reviewed so as to ensure that only well-done research, that is valid, reliable and explained in theoretically and practically sound ways ends up being published. In short it ensures that only high quality research is published for other scholars (Vito & Tewksbury, 2008).
The draw backs of using non-peer reviewed sources is that the information found may be trivial or sensational, may be based on opinions and not actual research and therefore unreliable, of poor quality and may also be invalid and therefore misleading to a researcher in the field (Bauer & Bauer, 2012).
My experience in using scholarly literature has been in two folds, good and also bad. Good in the sense that information gathered is reliable and one is informed in the process about new information and helps in conducting a good research. On the other it has been bad because of the scholarly jargon that is often used that sometimes makes it hard to understand the information presented. The data may need interpretations from other people such as lecturers in order to understand it.
Bauer, S. C., & Bauer, S. D. (2012). Using Research to Lead School Improvement: Turning Evidence into action. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publishers.
NSU. (2010). Emperical Research. Retrieved February 5, 2012, from Norfolk State University: http://www.nsu.edu/library/pdf/EmpiricalResearch.pdf
Sharp, J. A., Peters, J., & Howard, K. (2002). The Management of a Student Research project. Aldershot, UK: Gower Publishing.
Vito, G. F., & Tewksbury, R. (2008). Introduction to criminal justice Research methods: an Applied Approach. Springfield, Illinois: Charles C. Publishers Ltd.