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ENGL 836 Schuler: Finding credible information about the Dominican Republic

Course Guide for ENGL 836 with Prof. Schuler

MLA citation guides

Criticism and interpretation of "Oscar Wao"

Make a research appointment

Identifying credible online information

Researching the Dominican Republic

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz is set in Paterson, New Jersey, and the Dominican Republic. For your assignment you will need to know how to:

  • Identify credible online information; and
  • Build schema about the Dominican Republic

Topics to research

  • History
  • Relationship to Haiti
  • Geography: location, size and climate
  • Economy: industry and sources of income
  • Population: numbers, racial makeup, immigration, income and socioeconomic status
  • Religion
  • Music
  • Food

Search terms

To find information on your topic, search databases with combinations of words that gain results, such as "emigration AND Dominican Republic".

Take one page of Cornell notes on the topic and create a presentation for the class.

Please see our Plagiarism guide for more detail.

Pardon our language, but apply the CRAAP test to websites

How do you judge whether a website is credible? This CRAAP TEST gives you guidelines to ascertain a website's credibility. Some of the hallmarks of a credible website are:

  • Currency: The website has been maintained and kept current. Check the bottom of the home page for "last updated" to see how often the site is edited and updated.
  • Relevance: Who is the intended audience? Would you be comfortable citing this source in your research paper? 
  • Authority: The author or organization states credentials and qualifications to present the information on the website.
  • Accuracy: Is evidence or sources presented to support the information on the website? Neatness counts: Correct grammar, spelling, punctuation and moderate, unbiased, unemotional language are more convincing than its opposite. Can the sources be verified?
  • Purpose: Why does this website exist? What is its mission statement or objective? Is the information fact, opinion or propaganda? Do you detect biases or does the information on the website appear impartial and supported by evidence you can verify?

Also, be aware of the domain name, the last three letters in the webiste's url. To determine who the author of the website is, look at the bottom of the page for an institution, organization or individual's name. The domain name - the last three letters of the website's url - will tell you what type of organization runs and maintains the website.

  • .edu indicates a university or college
  • .org indicates a nonprofit organization
  • .gov means the government created the website.
  • .mil belongs to the military

Writing a clear thesis statement

Part of your assignment is to write a clear thesis statement with a definite point of view and a sense of conviction. During the semester, you will be required to write at least five essays.

Learning how to develop your ideas and organize your thoughts will help you finish your papers more easily. In addition to your Online Writing Lab for English 849, you may find Purdue OWL's Tips and Examples for Writing Thesis Statements.

Cornell Notes

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