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AGRI 240

For students in History of American Agriculture. This Guide is a collection of resources that will be helpful for the final project and presentation. Updated Spring 2020

Evaluating Sources

Think critically about each source you want to include in your final project. Ask yourself some questions about each source, such as:

  • What type of source is it?
  • What is the purpose of this source? To inform, entertain, persuade? 
  • Where did I find it?
  • Does this source fit my topic? How?
  • Who is the author?
  • Who published this source?
  • Who funded it?
  • Does this source play into my own confirmation biases?
  • Is there anything missing from it?
  • Is there anything that contradicts things I've found in other sources? Why? 
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • What sort of biases exist in this source? 

Remember to Cite!

Make sure to cite everything you use, including images, videos, and primary sources!

You can embed/download any digital videos, images, or other sources you find via our library resources. This includes anything you access through the PML Search, databases, or catalog. 

Most resources in government resources, such as the Library of Congress and the National Archives, are either in the public domain or contain no use restrictions. You can also download and use these types of sources. 

Make sure you check any copyright restrictions for other websites you find out on the open web. If you need help, please don't hesitate to ask. Copyright can get tricky, even if you aren't using the resources for profit. I can help you figure out any use restrictions and navigate copyright. 


See below for an example of an image citation, found through the Library of Congress.

Agricultural Laborer, photograph by John Thomson circa 1870

Thomson, J. (c. 1870). Agricultural laborer [Photograph]. Retrieved from

Plagiarism Help

Just like with anything else, citing and avoiding plagiarism takes practice. The more you do this, the better you'll get at it. 

Practice paraphrasing every chance you get. Paraphrase magazine articles, your class notes, or a speech you heard. Practice citing appropriately.

Tips for paraphrasing: 

  1. Read the material once through.
  2. Look away for ten seconds and think about something else (puppies! tacos! playing the banjo!)
  3. Rewrite the material, capturing the content of what was said, not the format.
  4. Go back and reread the original material to make sure you accurately captured the argument. 
  5. CITE the paraphrased section just as you would a direct quotation.

Ask for help! If you're unsure if something might be plagiarism, ask your professor, the Writing Center, or a librarian. It's also helpful to create several drafts and have someone read over it. Even if you think you've perfectly avoiding plagiarism, ask the Writing Center to help you be sure. 

Created by Ann Agee at San Jose State University, this guide walks you through some of basic questions students often have about plagiarism. 

You can skip to a specific section using the navigators on the left side, or you can go through the whole tutorial using the arrows at the bottom.

plagiarism guide San Jose State University

This PowerPoint presentation was created by the Director of the Writing Center, Dr. Kelle Alden. She discusses some tips for paraphrasing and quoting, as well as good and bad examples of each.