Survival of the Fittest: The World of Research

In the past two weeks of class we have focused heavily on research; what makes a source credible, how to find sources within sources, and the pure struggle of finding information on your villain that you haven’t already found. Turns out, finding credible sources on famous fictional villains is harder than expected, at least for The Wicked Witch of the West. Though it can be extremely frustrating, being able to be flexible and stick with it is an important part of any research.

Before figuring out how to use the library’s database, I would type something into google and a bunch of blogs and Wikipedia sites would come up. I would then try to reword it and the hit search again, yet no luck once again. It was beyond frustrating to see the purple links to sites I’d already clicked on pop up over and over again, but I was able to change my methods and approach this situation from a different angle.

In a lot of the wikis and blog post the writer mentions where they might have gotten their information. With the knowledge taken from class I was able to find more reliable sources within sources that may not have been as reliable. Once we were informed about the library’s databases and its resources, I was able to find reliable sources within reliable sources. Instead of giving up on my research as whole and switch my villain, which I did consider multiple times, I was flexible; I stuck it out, changed my methods, and was able to get a decent amount of knowledge on my villain.

You always her professors talk about credible sources and how that’s what they want you to use, but what really makes a sources credible? A page from Columbia College goes into detail on what makes a source credible. It starts off by listing a bunch of questions and then goes into detail about the importance of each question.

Where was the source published?

Finding peer-reviewed sources is always a good sign for credibility. Other credible sources include ones published by a university press, a scientific publisher or a professional society. These can sometimes be hard to find if you don’t have the resources such as a library database so many of us turn to the internet. The internet can have credible sources but it is important that you don’t use a piece of work by an individual who claims to be an expert on that particular topic. In general, most credible sources have a publisher. Once you find a published piece look into who its published by since some published pieces such as newspapers and magazines can be bias.

Who wrote it?

Most reliable sources will have an author, if they don’t, that should raise a red flag. Once you have found the author it is important to do a little extra research on them; nothing huge, just some background knowledge. You may look into what other pieces they have written and whether or not they’re affiliated with a university or institution.

Is the piece timely and appropriate for its field?

When it comes to this research paper, not many sources are going to be outdated because we’re analyzing our character. In other fields though, such as science, experiments could become outdated rather quickly as well as new discoveries are made daily in this particular field. Depending on your topic, date is important.

The flexibility I had to adapt to a frustrating situation helped me complete both raid two and three. In raid three one of the tasks was to discuss the ethos of the author of that specific source. Ethos is defined as some variation of credibility or trustworthiness. Ethos can also be referred to as the author’s perspective or how they present themselves (Purdue Owl). When finding articles to use in a research paper, it is important that you understand the author’s ethos.

When presented with a tough situation it is important that you remain flexible. Don’t give up, rather find a new way of doing things a give it a try. It is important that you utilize all your resources so that you meet the demands.

Works Cited

“Evaluating the Credibility of Your Sources.”

Accessed 20 Feb. 2017.

Sproat, Ethan, et al. “Aristotle's Rhetorical Situation.” 27 Apr. 2012,

Accessed 20 Feb. 2017.

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