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FYE100: Evaluate Information

First Year Seminar

Create a Concept Map

What is a Concept Map?

A concept map can help you identify the key ideas or concepts to use when you're researching your topic using books and articles. To complete the concept map:

  1. Open or print a copy of the blank Concept Map linked below. You can also view a completed sample version.
  2. Complete Step 1 on the worksheet by writing down your topic or research question, and identifying keywords in your topic (you should have two or three). These are the words or concepts that are most important in your topic. They may be a single word, or a short phrase.
  3. Complete Step 2 on the worksheet:
    1. Write your keywords in the boxes provided, with one keyword in each box.
    2. Brainstorm alternate keywords for each one. Alternate keywords could be synonyms, or similar concepts or ideas that fall within the same general category as your keywords.
    3. Write your alternate keywords in the box associated with each keyword.

Activity: Engage With Sources

All sources you find when engaging in research are part of an ongoing conversation about a particular topic. It's your job as a writer and researcher to evaluate your sources to determine their credibility and authority, and their contribution to the broader conversation.


"What is the impact of food deserts on public health in the United States?"

Consider these questions as you examine the sources below.

What type of source are you looking at? Use the Information Sources handout to help you decide.
What aspects of this source should/would you consider in deciding whether to use this source in your own research?



  • Source publisher. What's their mission or purpose?
  • Source author. Who are they, and what authority do they have on this topic?
  • Sources referenced. Where do they lead? How easy is it to find citations?

Use this video from Kishwaukee College Library to understand how to quickly and efficiently read a scholarly article.

Evaluate Information

For an assignment, you may be required to use (or not use) certain types of sources. Source types all have their own strengths and weaknesses. Use the chart below to learn about different types of sources and the information they contain.


Source Author Audience Best For Watch for/Consider


Journalists, Columnists General audience

Daily local, national, and international news, events, and editorial coverage

Statistics and photojournalism

Record of events, and quotes from experts, officials, and witnesses

Authors not typically experts

If a story is breaking, corrections to initial report likely

Editorial bias of the publication

Magazines Columnists, freelance writers; little or no information about the authors provided General audience, or those with a specific recreational interests (sports, fashion, science, etc)

Current information

Short, easy to understand articles

Photographs and illustrations

Authors not usually experts

Sources not always cited
Scholarly/Academic Journals A professional or expert in the field; usually has an advanced degree in the field Scholars, researchers, professionals, and university students in the field; audience may have a broad knowledge or understanding of the specialized language

In-depth research on a topic

Focused, peer-reviewed articles written by experts

Data, charts, and graphs

Bibliographies of other sources

Terminology or data may be difficult to understand

May be 10-40 pages long
Books Researcher or professional in the field; look for books published by university or scholarly presses Varies (general audience through scholar)

Comprehensive overview of a topic

Background and historical context

Bibliographies of other source

Dated information

Bias (dependent on author, publisher, etc)
Websites Anyone; expertise or credibility cannot be assured General audience


Government information

Company information

Alternate points of view

Credibility and accuracy cannot be assured

Bias (dependent on author, publisher, etc)

Sources not always cited


Chat with a Librarian


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Camille Abdeljawad Cook
Parkville Campus
Norrington Center, Room 206
Park University Library
8700 NW River Park Drive, Box 61 - Parkville, MO - 64152
Phone: (816) 584-6285
Toll-free: (800) 270-4347