Research Goals and Evaluating Secondary Sources

by   |  03.29.10  |  Research and Cultural Identity

In class on Friday, we discussed the following items related to the goals of research:

What are some of the purposes of research?

  • To confirm the validity of your claims – appealing to the opinions of experts
  • To establish your credibility as an informed reader of a text
  • To provide historical context for your argument/analysis
  • To discover new knowledge (highest goal of research)

Pitfalls of Using Secondary Sources

  • Losing your own voice

Secondary sources should be used sparingly to supplement your claims about a text – claims from secondary sources cannot be your primary argument about the text. When quoting a secondary sources, be sure to follow up the quote with your explanation or argument about why the information from the secondary source is relevant to your claims.

  • Quoting sources that have no relation to your text
  • Failure to properly cite sources