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Designing Better Research Assignments

Compare Sources

  • Have students compare a popular source (e.g. popular magazine or newspaper) with a scholarly source (e.g. peer-reviewed article). Both sources should deal with the same topic.


  • Provide students with a number of sources, which you, the course instructor have pre-selected. Students can work in pairs or groups, but each group should have 2-3 sources to examine. Have students answer questions about the sources:
    • What is it (website, book chapter, news story, research article, etc.)?
    • Who is the author and what expertise does the author have (they will need to research this)?
    • Who is the intended audience?
    • How could you use this source? What does it tell you?
  • Option: Have each group present their findings to the other groups.


University of Texas Libraries. Information Literacy Toolkit. Retrieved from

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