Evaluating and Documenting Sources

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Evaluating and Documenting Sources

  • Tri A Budiono
  • School of Computer Science
  • Thesis Workshop – SEP 2006


  • Finding Sources
  • Evaluating Sources
  • Documenting Sources with APA style

Finding Sources

  • Finding Sources

Sources to Include in the Thesis

  • Binus International is developing a policy regarding basic requirements of writing in the courses, including thesis:
  • The writing requirement for the thesis are:
    • At least 15.000 words
    • At least 10 books and 25 articles
  • The large volume of scientific literature being produced can be daunting at first. However, a number of resources are available to help you find what is relevant to your research, and most of the resources are searchable online.

Researchers and library resources

  • Researchers use library resources to:
    • keep up with current thinking in the field so they can recognize a question worth asking
    • review what is known about a given phenomenon so they can place new knowledge in context
    • locate specific information they need to successfully carry out an experiment or project

Finding Sources in Computer Science#1

  • Database and Indexes
    • ACM Digital Library. New York: Association for Computing Machinery, 1947–.
    • Applied Science and Technology Index. New York: Wilson, 1983–.
    • EI Engineering Village 2. Hoboken: Elsevier Engineering Information, 2000–.
  • Web Resources
    • ACM Portal: The Guide to Computing Literature
      • http://portal.acm.org/guide.cfm
    • FOLDOC: Free Online Dictionary of Computing
      • http://wombat.doc.ic.ac.uk/foldoc/index.html
    • Virtual Computer Library
      • http://www.utexas.edu/computer/vcl
    • WWW Virtual Library: Computing and Computer Science
      • http://vlib.org/Computing
    • EEVL: The Internet Guide to Engineering, Mathematics, and Computing
      • http://www.eevl.ac.uk

Finding Sources in Computer Science#2

  • Reference Books:
    • Encyclopedia of Computers and Computer History. Ed. Raúl Rojas. 2 vols. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2001.
    • Encyclopedia of Computer Science. Ed. Anthony Ralston, Edwin D. Reilly, and David Hemmendinger. 4th ed. London: Nature, 2000.

Evaluating Sources

  • Evaluating Sources

Source Credibility

  • Evaluating The Reliability of a Source
    • Not every source is suitable for use in a formal research paper, and the ultimate guide of what is appropriate and what is not is your supervisor.
    • Excellent research requires thought and care in choosing the best or most appropriate sources.
  • You should “test” items on your working bibliography against the following standards:
    • Balance, objectivity
    • Authoritativeness
    • Timeliness, Currency
    • Originality


  • Authoritativeness
    • Some publications carry more authority because they contain articles written only by seasoned scholars and researchers.
    • Can you learn something about the authors’ reputations?
    • Do other scholars cite them?

Balance, objectivity

  • Balance, objectivity
    • Almost all publications have some type of bias or perspective - political, religious, or cultural.
    • An American business magazine inevitably will have a certain perspective on Japanese business practices.
    • A feminist magazine such as MS. will have a definite perspective on the right-to-life movement.
    • Open source supporters will undermine Microsoft products

Timeliness, Currency

  • Timeliness, Currency
    • This standard refers to having the most up-to-date information. Obviously, if you are researching J2EE Frameworks, you want the most current information possible.
    • For some research topics, you will want to balance the newest information with older information.


  • Originality
    • “Original” sources are primary sources - ones written or published closest in time to an event, or containing the actual text of a speech, the transcript of a news conference, etc. The Gang of Four is the primary sources of Design Pattern
    • Secondary sources analyze, and offer commentary on, primary sources. An book on understanding OO paradigm such Budd’ OOP analyse and discuss the design pattern is secondary sources.
      • Whenever possible, use primary sources so that you can avoid the inherent biases of secondary sources.

Assessing online Sources Credibility

  • Online sources can be used, however you will still need to assess their credibility.
  • The following criteria for assessing online sources will help you to determine whether electronic sources are both professional and appropriate for your thesis.

Assessing online Sources Credibility

  • Authorship - who is the author and what are his credentials?
  • Publishing Body - the pb is the server on which the file is stored. The server cannot guarantee reliability of the information that is posted.
  • Objectivity/Knowledge - seek out other sources to see if the author has considered enough alternative views. Is there evidence to support the claims being made? Is the tone professional?
  • Accuracy or Verifiability - Hypertext is helpful in this area. For example, an author quoting statistics from another Internet source will often include a direct link to that source.
  • Currency - this refers to the history of publication and any revisions. When was the site last updated? Is the information still relevant?

Style Manuals

  • Style Manuals

Four Commonly-used Style Manuals

  • Style Manual
  • Discipline
  • Published Manual
  • MLA
  • English and the humanities
  • MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 6th ed. (New York: MLA, 2003).
  • APA
  • Psychology and the social sciences
  • Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 5th ed. (Washington: APA, 2001).
  • Chicago
  • history and some humanitiesH
  • The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th ed. (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2003).
  • CSE
  • Biology and other sciences
  • Scientific Style and Format: The CBE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers (6th ed., 1994),
  • MLA: Modern Language Association
  • CSE: Council of Science Editors

List of Style Manuals#1

    • Council of Biology Editors. Scientific Style and Format: The CBE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers. 6th ed. New York: Cambridge UP, 1994.
    • American Management Association. The AMA Style Guide for Business Writing. New York: AMACOM, 1996.
    • Dodd, Janet S., ed. The ACS Style Guide: A Manual for Authors and Editors. 2nd ed. Washington: Amer. Chemical Soc., 1997.
    • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. IEEE Standards Style Manual. Rev. ed. New York: IEEE, 2005
    • Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 6th ed. New York: Mod. Lang. Assn., 2003.

List of Style Manuals#2

    • Bates, Robert L., Rex Buchanan, and Marla Adkins-Heljeson, eds. Geowriting: A Guide to Writing, Editing, and Printing in Earth Science. 5th ed. Alexandria: Amer. Geological Inst., 1995.
    • Garner, Diane L. The Complete Guide to Citing Government Information Resources: A Manual for Social Science and Business Research. 3rd ed. Bethesda: Congressional Information Service, 2002.
    • United States Government Printing Office. Style Manual. Washington: GPO, 2000.
    • The Chicago Manual of Style. 15th ed. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2003.
    • Goldstein, Norm, ed. Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law. Rev. ed. New York: Associated Press, 2005.

List of Style Manuals#3

  • LAW
    • Harvard Law Review et al. The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation. 17th ed. Cambridge: Harvard Law Rev. Assn., 2000.
    • Linguistic Society of America. “LSA Style Sheet.” Published annually in the December issue of the LSA Bulletin.
    • American Mathematical Society. The AMS Author Handbook: General Instructions for Preparing Manuscripts. Rev. ed. Providence: AMS, 1996.
    • Iverson, Cheryl, et al. American Medical Association Manual of Style: A Guide for Authors and Editors. 9th ed. Baltimore: Williams, 1998.
    • Holoman, D. Kern, ed. Writing about Music: A Style Sheet from the Editors of 19th-Century Music. Berkeley: U of California P, 1988.

List of Style Manuals#4

    • American Institute of Physics. Style Manual: Instructions to Authors and Volume Editors for the Preparation of AIP Book Manuscripts. 5th ed. New York: AIP, 1995.
    • American Political Science Association. Style Manual for Political Science. Rev. ed. Washington: APSA, 2001.
    • American Psychological Association. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. 5th ed. Washington: APA, 2001.
    • American National Standards Institute. American National Standard for the Preparation of Scientific Papers for Written or Oral Presentation. New York: ANSI, 1979.
    • Microsoft Corporation. Microsoft Manual of Style for Technical Publications. 3rd ed. Redmond: Microsoft, 2004.
    • Rubens, Philip, ed. Science and Technical Writing: A Manual of Style. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge, 2001.
    • National Association of Social Workers. Writing for the NASW Press: Information for Authors .

Documenting Sources: Using APA Format

  • Documenting Sources: Using APA Format

Why Use APA Format?

  • Allows readers to cross-reference your sources easily
  • Provides consistent format within a discipline
  • Gives you credibility as a writer
  • Protects yourself from plagiarism

Cross-Referencing Your Sources

  • Cross-referencing allows readers to locate the publication information of source material.
  • This is of great value for researchers who may want to locate your sources for their own research projects.

Using a Consistent Format

  • Using a consistent format helps your reader understand your arguments and the sources they’re built on.
  • It also helps you keep track of your sources as you build arguments.

Establishing Credibility

  • The proper use of APA style shows the credibility of writers; such writers show accountability to their source material.

Avoiding Plagiarism

  • Proper citation of your sources in APA style can help you avoid plagiarism, which is a serious offense. It may result in anything from failure of the assignment to expulsion from school.

Where Do I Find APA Format?

  • Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 5th ed.
  • www.apastyle.org
  • Composition textbooks
  • English Services Manager: John Honeyben

APA Style: Two Main Concerns

Reference Page

  • A list of every source that you make reference to in your essay.
  • Provides the information necessary for a reader to locate and retrieve any sources cited in your essay.
  • Each retrievable source cited in the essay must appear on the reference page, and vice versa.

A Sample Reference Page

Reference Page

  • Most citations should contain the following basic information:
    • Author’s name
    • Title of work
    • Publication information

References: Some Examples

  • Book Shay, J. (1994). Achilles in Vietnam: Combat trauma and the undoing of character. New York: Touchstone.
  • Article in a Magazine Klein, J. (1998, October 5). Dizzy days. The New Yorker, 40-45.

References: Some Examples

  • Web page Poland, D. (1998, October 26). The hot button. Roughcut. Retrieved October 28, 1998 from http://www.roughcut.com

References: Some Examples

  • A newspaper article Tommasini, A. (1998, October 27). Master teachers whose artistry glows in private. New York Times, p. B2.
  • A source with no known author Cigarette sales fall 30% as California tax rises. (1999, September 14). New York Times, p. A17.

Reference Page

  • What other types of sources might you need to list on your reference page?
  • Study the basics of APA citation format. When something odd comes up, don’t guess. Look it up!

Parenthetical Citations

  • When quoting any words that are not your own
    • Quoting means to repeat another source word for word, using quotation marks

Parenthetical Citations

  • When summarizing facts and ideas from a source
    • Summarizing means to take ideas from a large passage of another source and condense them, using your own words
  • When paraphrasing a source
    • Paraphrasing means to use the ideas from another source but change the phrasing into your own words

Keys to Parenthetical Citations

Handling Quotes in Your Text

  • Author’s last name, publication year, and page number(s) of quote must appear in the text
  • Caruth (1996) states that a traumatic response frequently entails a “delayed, uncontrolled repetitive appearance of hallucinations and other intrusive phenomena” (p.11).
  • A traumatic response frequently entails a “delayed, uncontrolled repetitive appearance of hallucinations and other intrusive phenomena” (Caruth, 1996, p.11).

Handling Parenthetical Citations

  • Sometimes additional information is necessary . . .
    • More than one author with the same last name
    • (H. James, 1878); (W. James, 1880)
    • Two or more works in the same parentheses
    • (Caruth, 1996; Fussell, 1975; Showalter, 1997)
    • Work with six or more authors
    • (Smith et al, 1998)
    • Specific part of a source
    • (Jones, 1995, chap. 2)

Handling Parenthetical Citations

  • If the source has no known author, then use an abbreviated version of the title:
  • Full Title: “California Cigarette Tax Deters Smokers”
  • Citation: (“California,” 1999)

Handling Parenthetical Citations

  • A reference to a personal communication:
  • Source: email message from C. Everett Koop
  • Citation: (C. E. Koop, personal communication, May 16, 1998)
  • A general reference to a web site Source: Purdue University web site
  • Citation: (http://www.purdue.edu)

Handling Parenthetical Citations

  • Recently, the history of warfare has been significantly revised by Higonnet et al (1987), Marcus (1989), and Raitt and Tate (1997) to include women’s personal and cultural responses to battle and its resultant traumatic effects. Feminist researchers now concur that “It is no longer true to claim that women's responses to the war have been ignored” (Raitt & Tate, p. 2). Though these studies focus solely on women's experiences, they err by collectively perpetuating the masculine-centered impressions originating in Fussell (1975) and Bergonzi (1996).
  • However, Tylee (1990) further criticizes Fussell, arguing that his study “treated memory and culture as if they belonged to a sphere beyond the existence of individuals or the control of institutions” (p. 6).

Handling Quotes in Your Text

  • There are many different combinations and variations within APA citation format.
  • If you run into something unusual, look it up!


  • Exercises
    • Credible sources?
    • Style used?
    • Consistent use of style?


  • Only credible sources that can be used in the thesis
  • Be consistent on one style manual

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