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Biology 182 (Jackson)

Biology 182 (Jackson)

How do we decide if information is "credible?"

Your project asks you to critique a conspiracy theory - but how do you know what information is reliable and accurate? Watch the two videos below to learn how to use the internet to fact check and evaluate information.

What about peer-reviewed research articles?

Peer-reviewed research articles (also sometimes called scholarly, academic, or refereed articles) are considered the gold standard of scientific research. A peer-reviewed research article generally includes the following sections:

Abstract - includes a brief summary of the research and is typically followed by author credentials.

Introduction - the introduction will contain information about the authors' intentions for the article, why they did the research, and it will include the hypothesis or research objectives. 

Methods - a description of the research methods used (survey, focus groups, statistical analysis, regression analysis, etc.); may also describe limitations with the selected method.

Results - scientific description of the findings.

Discussion - discusses the research in detail.

Conclusion - summarizes the findings and makes suggestions for future use of research. 

Appendix/Appendices - may or may not be part of the article

References and/or bibliography

Find Articles


<subject> AND skepticism OR conspiracy


climate change OR global warming AND skepticism OR conspiracy

vaccin* AND skepticism OR conspiracy

moon landing AND skepticism OR conspiracy

Visit the University of North Carolina's Writing Lab for writing help.

Check out the guides on the left side toolbar for information on plagiarism and APA style citations.

Paraphrasing is one of the hardest writing skills to learn. Many students who would never intentionally plagiarize will accidentally plagiarize due to a poor understanding of paraphrasing and/or poor paraphrasing skills. Check out the examples below to understand the difference between correct and incorrect paraphrasing. 

Examples of Acceptable and Unacceptable Paraphrasing  

The examples below will show you how paraphrase correctly. They're adapted from Paraphrasing by University Libraries, University of Arizona with its gracious permission.

Here's the original text, from page 1 of Lizzie Borden: A Case Book of Family and Crime in the 1890s by Joyce Williams et al.:

The rise of industry, the growth of cities, and the expansion of the population were the three great developments of late nineteenth century American history. As new, larger, steam-powered factories became a feature of the American landscape in the East, they transformed farm hands into industrial laborers, and provided jobs for a rising tide of immigrants. With industry came urbanization the growth of large cities (like Fall River, Massachusetts, where the Bordens lived) which became the centers of production as well as of commerce and trade.

Here's an unacceptable paraphrase:

The increase of industry, the growth of cities, and the explosion of the population were three large factors of nineteenth century America. As steam-driven companies became more visible in the eastern part of the country, they changed farm hands into factory workers and provided jobs for the large wave of immigrants. With industry came the growth of large cities like Fall River where the Bordens lived which turned into centers of commerce and trade as well as production.

What makes this passage plagiarism?

This is unacceptable paraphrasing because the writer has:

  • only changed a few words and phrases
  • only changed the order of the original's sentences
  • failed to cite a source for any of the ideas or facts

Here's an acceptable paraphrase:

Fall River, where the Borden family lived, was typical of northeastern industrial cities of the nineteenth century. Steam-powered production had shifted labor from agriculture to manufacturing, and as immigrants arrived in the U.S., they found work in these new factories. As a result, populations grew and large urban areas arose. Fall River was one of these manufacturing and commercial centers (Williams 1).

Why is this passage acceptable?

  • accurately relays the information in the original using his/her own words
  • lets the reader know the source of information

Here's an another acceptable paraphrase, using a quotation and paraphrase together:

Fall River, where the Borden family lived, was typical of northeastern industrial cities of the nineteenth century. As steam-powered production shifted labor from agriculture to manufacturing, the demand for workers "transformed farm hands into factory workers" and created jobs for immigrants. In turn, growing populations increased the size of urban areas. Fall River was one of these manufacturing hubs that were also "centers of commerce and trade" (Williams 1).

Why is this passage acceptable?

  • accurately records the information in the original passage
  • gives credit for the ideas in this passage
  • indicated which part is taken directly from the source by putting the passage in quotation marks and citing the page number

 Strategies for avoiding plagiarism

1. Put quotation marks around everything that comes directly from the text, especially when taking notes.

2. When you paraphrase, be sure you're not just rearranging or replacing a few words. Instead, read over what you want to paraphrase carefully; cover up the text with your hand, or close the text so you can't see any of it (and so aren't tempted to use the text as a "guide"). Write out the idea in your own words without peeking.

3. Check your paraphrase against the original text to be sure you haven't accidentally used the same phrases or words, and that the information is accurate.

Contact the MCC Library if you need help finding or evaluating sources.

Check our hours for in person or virtual help through chat, text and Zoom.

Be sure to check out the Virtual Research Workshops on APA, finding sources, and more. 

You can also email or text 928-232-4430.

Did you know EBSCO has an app? Download it to your smartphone for reading articles on the go. 

Contact the Student Success Center if you need help writing, editing or formatting your paper. Schedule an in person or virtual appointment today.

Call the main MCC number to connect with your Library, Student Success Center or professor: 866-664-2832.