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SPED 5710: Teaching Young Children with Disabilities: Evaluate & Summarize


Evaluating Sources

Who Wrote It?

  • Who are the authors?
  • What are their credentials (i.e. education, publications, affiliations)?

What is the Point of the Source?

  • What’s the argument or thesis?
  • Is the information based in fact?

When Was the Source Written?

  • Is the information outdated?
  • Is it still relevant?

Where Are You Getting Your Information From?

  • Where was it published? What’s the source? (i.e. Exceptional Parents, Council for Exceptional Children)
  • Are they a credible source of information? Bias? Background?

Where Does the Source Get Their Information?

  • Does the article cite sources?
  • Does the article present data from a study? Do they explain methods, results, etc..?
  • Is the information presented valid?

Why is this Source Relevant?

  • How will you use this source to make a point? How is it applicable?
  • Does this source meet your assignment requirements? 

Evidence Based Practice

Evidence based practice refers to interventions and strategies that are based on science. It is important as special education practitioners to choose interventions that have been scientifically proven to be effective.

Some tips for identifying EPBs:

  • Do a search in a database for your chosen intervention - are there research articles testing this strategy? 
  • Do the research articles present empirical research? (i.e. explain who their participants are, methods, results and implications?) 
  • Do reputable organizations and agencies have reports recommending that intervention? 

Summarize Sources

Read the Entire Article

Do a quick but complete run through of the article without taking notes.

Author’s Claims?

Jot down the authors claims and the implications.

Make it Relevant!

Jot down a quick sentence about how this article can be useful to parents. How is it relevant or applicable?

Keep it Simple

Simplify the language and start to “translate” the research into familiar terms for parents. Only include critical information, less is more! 


Need strategies for reading academic journal articles?

Use this reading guide from the library to help you understand the major sections of academic articles and develop strategies for quickly understanding them. Or check out the handout linked below for more details.

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