Source Evaluation Worksheet

Choose a Research Question:

1. Read the questions below and choose the one that interests you the most.

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2. Below each question are Module two eLearn sources that relate to the question. Read all the sources and evaluate two of them on the Source Evaluation Worksheet (see below).

What competing visions of the United States arose during the Revolutionary and Early US periods?
Required: Lesson Six, The Articles and the Constitution, Jefferson Versus Hamilton, and Selected Federalist Papers Recommended: Chapters 6 and 7 of America: The Essential Learning Edition.
What economic and social/demographic changes occurred during Market Revolution of the early 1800’s? What were the benefits and drawbacks? NOTE: Be sure to research the Market Revolution (sometimes called the First Industrial Revolution) of the early 19th century, not the Second Industrial Revolution of the late 19th century.

Required: Lesson Seven, Zinn on Jefferson and the Indians and Lesson Eight, Map: Growth of Cotton and Slavery and Strike on Lowell Mill
Recommended: Lesson Eight, Edward Ball Slavery’s Trail of Tears
How democratic was Jacksonian Democracy? (For the purposes of this essay, define the word democratic in the question as the “ideals and rights of democratic nation,” such as equality, representation, freedom, voting, opportunity, government by the people, etc.)

Required: Lesson Nine, Jackson Reinventing the Presidency Video and Lesson Ten, Indian Removal and Jacksonian Politics
Recommended: Cheatham – Jackson, Slavery, and Historians

Evaluate eLearn Sources: Part One

3. Once you have chosen a question and read the related Elearn sources, download and save the Source Evaluation Worksheet. Evaluate and analyze TWO of the required Elearn sources on the worksheet, answering the questions in paragraph form.

NOTE: There is a PDF version of the worksheet available if you would prefer, but you will need to have Acrobat Reader in order to download, save, and edit the PDF version of the worksheet. Here are instructions on how to use the PDF Worksheet.

Evaluate Researched Sources: Part Two

4. The Source Evaluation Worksheet also requires you to perform your own research and evaluate TWO high-quality sources that will help answer the question and add ideas and information not found in the eLearn sources and textbook. The Source Evaluation Worksheet has space to evaluate these two researched sources in addition to the eLearn sources from part one.

Consider using the Vol State Library’s collection of databases for History to find academic, verified scholarship. The short videos below can help you become a more efficient researcher.
For primary sources, has a great list of digitized primary source collections across the US. The Library of Congress collections are also excellent.
Requirements and Recommendations for Research:

In order to be effective and efficient in your research here are a few videos that you will help you. All of these videos combined take less than 10 minutes of your time, and they are well worth it:

Choosing Keywords
Boolean Operators
Boolean Modifiers

And here is a cheat sheet to help you remember and use all these tips: Boolean Searching

One place to start (and even finish) your research is the Vol State Library’s collection of databases for History to find academic, verified scholarship. The videos above will be useful in using JSTOR, ProQuest, and Gale.
You may not use crowd-edited websites (Wikipedia,, etc.)
Avoid general reference sites like, Britannica, Kahn Academy, etc. They may be accurate, but they will not add much to your analysis.
The sources you evaluate (and ultimately use in your essay) need to be of good quality, relevant to your topic, and contribute new ideas and information that you would not find in the Elearn source or textbook. The relevance, depth, and quality of your sources are part of your grade.
You are required to evaluate (and use in your essay) at least one scholarly journal or book. Again, consider going to the Vol State Library collection of history databases (link above).
NOTE: The sources that you evaluate on the worksheet do not have to appear in your essay (though that is obviously the easiest way to go). If I (the instructor) recommend further research or you find better sources after completing the evaluations, feel free to use them in your essay. The quality and relevance of the sources you use in your essay will count in your essay grade as well, so use the best sources possible.

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