Whereas extensive research and proper citation of sources is important in academic writing, it is important to evaluate the sources for quality to come up with high quality paper. People write for various reasons: To entertain, to inform, to describe, and some to mislead. The quality of a paper depends on this purpose. It is therefore good to use sources that are reliable, credible, up-to-date, and credible. A good source is one which has the following attributes: Discusses a well-defined topic or question, considers various perspectives of a topic, presents evidence in a manner that can be easily understood by readers, discusses assumptions that are critical, findings that are contrary, and other interpretations of the topic, concludes carefully, and provides credible and enough references. A good source should use multiple types of evidence before cautiously drawing conclusions. It should be one that has been critically reviewed by qualified experts that do not each other.
Professor Forsyth (2009) gives the following guidelines to help establish sources whose contents are true and help researchers make their independent judgments on sources:
- Academic work that contains many of its sources on the internet shows that the writer did not thoroughly research on a topic. Planning for an academic work requires interviewing experts, visiting sites, using databases, and researching on certain documented reports that are rarely seen on the internet. Students should therefore use technical documents such as journals and databases in their research.
- Sources are needed for both conceptual framework and support of a document. They are useful for a writer to show that they are building on earlier works done by others.
- Sources should be used in a manner that allows readers to make judgments for themselves. Readers should also be informed about the people who provide the evidence.
- Better sources are published by reputable presses such as University presses or are from reputable organizations.
- Some sources such as Wikipedia and ask.com are not good to rely on in a research. It is good to start with Wikipedia but scroll to the bottom to see references which may guide one to credible sources.
- It is advisable to use multiple sources to produce balanced and well-structured evidence.
In addition to the above guidelines, CARS technique was used to evaluate the academic quality of the sources used in task 1. The credibility of the sources was evaluated by checking at author’s qualifications in relation to the subject in question. Qualifications considered included the academic level of authors, the number of articles authors have written, and the contribution the author has made in the subject. In the journal of information technology used in task 1 research, for example, Dr. Josiah Ajiboye is a senior lecturer in the department of Social Studies at the University of Botswana; Dr. Emmanuel Olusola Adu is a lecturer of Social Studies Education in the University of Ibadan; and Mr. James Idowu Wojade is a graduating Master of Education student from the University of Ibadan.
Sources that were published or updated in recent years were used to get information that is up-to-date. The sources used were those that were published from the year 2000 to 2012. “Global wireless, enabling an adaptive and extensible environment” written by Kumar in the international journal of mobile communications was published in the year 2004. This indicates that the information was up-to-date. The information from sources was also tested for reliability by reading them and knowing if they presented balanced argument. Other sources such as “The first computers history and architecture” by Rojas and Ulf published in the year 2000 proved reliable since it was edited.
Support for sources was tested by identifying where the information came from, whether sources were properly cited and listed in the list of references, and whether author’s contact information was provided or not. Sources that were used in task 1 had their sources cited and well referenced, and others such as that written by Ajiboye, Adu, & Wojuade in 2007 had contact information of authors given.
The project was done according to the planned schedule. This is because the project was planned, resources gathered beforehand, and project commenced early.
There was a blackout during project documentation. Since it was being done on a computer, the documentation process had to stop for a period of one day. This was solved by working for extra hours to compensate for the lost day. It was also found that to avoid such inconveniences, backup power should be in place.
Proper planning and management leads to successful completion of projects. If a project is started early with resources ready, it is most likely to be finished in time. Project managers should be ready to adjust their plans as project creeps may be experienced in the process.
A project requires proper planning. Planning should be made in such a way that the plan is adjustable in case of any project creep. Many different sources including journals, books, e-journals, e-books, databases, and internet sources should be evaluated for quality and used as sources to provide strong evidence to arguments. Backup equipment such as UPS, batteries, and flash disks will be put in place to be used in case of any eventuality.
A project that is well planned and managed is likely to be completed successfully. Writers write for various reasons: To inform, educate, entertain, or mislead. It is therefore good to evaluate sources for quality using any of the evaluation techniques before using a source. It is also important to use many different sources to provide strong evidence for arguments. Any problem experienced in the course of managing a project should be a lesson for improvement in future projects.