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LANG 3070 - English Communication for Humanities and Social Science Studies II: Evaluate to Use

How to select

 Trying to decide which article, book, book-chapter etc. is not an easy task. As Y3 & Y4 students, you are beginning to  come to grip with this art.

 Here are some things to remind yourself:  You will

  • Search & find more citations & references (found via PowerSearch, listed in bliogrpahies, dsicovered in search engines & databases) than you look at\
  • Look at & consider  more citations (found in bibliographies, search results, etc.) than you download or read
  • Download and skim more articles, chapters, books, statistics, and data-sets than you will ultimately use in a literature review
  •  You may read an entire chapter or article & find that it\s not quite right for *this assignment*
  • Time spent reading in your area of interest and research is never wasted


This workshop is an opportunity for you to ask yourself questions of the material you have found so far.

The rubric is just am example of the sorts of questions you can ask and answer about the resources you plan to use as evidence in your literature review and conference proposal & presentation

Scholars ask this among themselves. It's a perennial question.

They even publish articles about it:


Scan results for relevance

Check for Relevance - Ask Yourself


–Do my terms or ideas related to my terms turn up in the title, abstract, or source title?
–Do some authors keep recurring?

Date or Time

–Does the publication date or title indicate that the time period covered in the item relates to the time period I’m studying?

Amount of results

–Am I getting too much (feeling overwhelmed?)   - Then filter
–Am I getting too little (feeling like there’s nothing to build on) - Then expand

Suitability in general

–What is it?  (video?  Article? Book? Book Chapter)
–How long is it (7 page article? 30 page article, 300 page thesis?)
–Is it appropriately scholarly?
–Is it from a reliable source


1. Quickly scan & look at

  • Title of article or book or chapter
  • Title of journal or book or video
  • Author
  • Publication date
  • Number of pages or minutes

2.Possible items look interesting?

  • Skim abstract
  • Glance at headings, findings, conclusions

3.Choose  carefully before download or print

4. As you read & decide whether you will use it, consider::

  • How it justifies research need 
  • Its research design and methods 
  • Author's reasoning and how they support their claims 

Victoria's example of suitability for inclusion

Victoria’s example article  Why  It may be relevant & useful Score

Kan, Karita. "Building SoHo in Shenzhen: The territorial politics of gentrification and state making in China." Geoforum 111 (2020): 1-10..

Big Question? What's this about?

 Gentrification as state-building.  Territorial politics   NOT focused on individuals as entrepreneurs or life-style  . 


Relationship to previous research:

  • Relationship to  Past Studies or Context
  • Important previous research books or papers cited in this one?

Puts aside (to an extent) the issue of “production” vs. “consumption” and instead focuses on state (government) policies  and the “rural-urban” interface

 Plenty of good and well cited literature in it 

Plenty of good and well cited literature cited in it


What's going on in this paper? Related to  my interests or questions?

  • Methodology
  • Theory
  • Social group studied and/or location
  • Social dynamic studied?
  • Time period?
  • Data set?

Method: “”The case study focuses on the gentrification processes unfolding in an urban village located in what was formerly the rural village:

Empirical data was collected through field visits, interviews and archival research. Fieldwork was carried out in two phases: between 2011 and 2013 and between 2018 and 2019.

 Theory: “Gentrification beyond the urban North” … “gentrification theory propels researchers to observe the socio-spatial inequalities and contestations that redevelopment produces (López-Morales, 2015).”

Social groups :   “local officials and planners (n = 10) as well as villagers and members of Dafen’s art community such as painters, art workers, business owners and investors (n = 32).

 Social dynamic:  policies, state & non-state actors 

Time period:  2011-2019


Overall Quality

Seems very academic, published in decent journal Geoforum. Author is a professor at HKPolyU.  Very recent - so its lit review section will be very up-to-date; but likely not a lot of “search forwards”. .


Rubric for Suitability for inclusion [self-assessment]

Rubric for Selection or Inclusion  - score


Poor (1)

 OK (2)

Good  (3)

What are the article about?

Very little relationship to my research topic or question.

Seems almost random, maybe has a couple of key-words that sound related to my question.

Somewhat related to the research topic or question.

Item selected shows some relationship to the question or topic.


I see a theory or author that my professors have introduced to me before, or that I've read in other works

Highly related to the research topic or question.

Item selected shows a strong relationship to the question or topic.

The material seems to be highly relevant in terms of theory, methodology that relates to my research question.


The author works in this area a lot & I've read other material by them that's been highly relevant.


Relationship to past research

Shows little relationship to past scholarship, few citations, or very dated, or very “dodgy” citations

Shows some relationship to past scholarship; citations look reasonable, perhaps a bit dated

Shows a strong relationship to past research, places the scholarly question or issue solidly within the existing research, or from a new multi-disciplinary perspective that draws on different disciplines

Common threads in references & to my question or topic

Few if any common thread in terms of research question; method; theory; group or dynamic studied; location; time period, or data set.

Shows some common thread(s) in terms of research question; method; theory; group or dynamic studied; location; time period, or data set.

Has common describable threads, or coherence with other articles selected in terms of research question; method; theory; group or dynamic studied; location; time period, or data set.

What’s the overall quality

Too basic or non-academic; citations (if any) are out-dated or dodgy.

Seems  kind of academic (scholarly).

Seems very academic; addresses the other scholarly literature strongly. Perhaps well cited in the scholarly literature

If non-scholarly, could be used to frame public discourse in this area (how are non-scholars talking about this topic)







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