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DLM 110 - Gender, Power, and Communication : Home

Information is contextual

Information is contextual. That is something librarians and scholars say but, what does it mean?! When you were first learning to evaluate information sources, you might have heard that "peer-reviewed articles" or "journal articles" and websites that end in .gov, .org and .edu are more reliable ("better") than newspaper articles, websites that end in .com, blogs and social media. Encyclopedia Britannica is good, while Wikipedia cannot be used for research papers. From a certain point of view, these statements are true. But that doesn't mean newspapers, popular articles, blogs, social media and Wikipedia have no use in research. Newspapers, blogs and social media can be valuable primary sources (sources that show how "regular people" thought about a certain topic at a specific time). Wikipedia can be a good source of background information - it can help you quickly learn who are the important people associated with a topic, what are some of the major issues, where did significant events associated with the topic take place, etc. This is especially valuable if you look at the citations at the end of a Wikipedia article. 

The point: No information is "bad" or "not useful" for a college paper. You just need to use all information in the right context in your paper. Scholarly articles provide evidence-based conclusions on a topic while popular sources might provide valuable "regular person" opposing viewpoints.

Scholarly articles

Popular articles

Sample evidence


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Karoline Manny
Karoline Manny
600 West Walnut Street
Danville, KY 40422