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March 5, 2009

Research & Citation

Note: I'm not sure whether we are supposed to blog this week (the syllabus says so, but it was not noted in this week's "lecture"), so I am going to cover my butt. Besides, I think there is a good discussion to be had about research and citation with regards to our wiki.

For some reason, I chose a topic for our wiki that I knew very little about. I wanted the opportunity to learn more about it, and I figured that by the end of the project I would be an expert. Then this week's assignment rolled around. I didn't expect that I'd have to find (and read) 15 articles relevant to my topic so soon. It is Thursday evening and I have only found 5 articles that even mention my topic. I'm starting to think that perhaps it's a bit too soon to extensively discuss the RNC08 topic. After all, trials are still going on, sentences and consequences haven't been decided upon entirely, and full reports on the event are still under close surveillance.

Sheer volume of information aside, what constitutes an appropriate source? Is it appropriate to cite a wiki in a wiki? How about articles that other people in the class have already used? And... is it okay to use information that may be slightly biased. We identified neutrality as a class goal. I do not want to post a link to an obviously liberal (or conservative) article--even if it has some valuable information.

Lastly, have we identified a common citation style? I know that we are supposed to use APA (because of its technical affiliations), but what about font/size/color specifications? In my technical editing class, we learned about the importance of styles and templates. Did anyone consider creating one of these for our class? I guess we will have to set common parameters at the end.