Evaluating resources

Instructions: There are two required elements to every weekly discussion:

  • Main Post (See Requirements section below for details)
    • Weeks 2-8 (due by Wednesday)
  • Reply Posts (See Requirements section below for details)
    • Weeks 1- 8 (due by Sunday)
    • Reply to a minimum of two classmates’ main posts
    • Monitor your main post and reply to those who commented within the active discussion week
    • Participate throughout the week (on more than one day)

Evaluation:Refer to the  below for a detailed breakdown of the grading criteria requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements noted above will not result in a score of 100. To understand how to maximize your overall Discussion grade, I suggest you refer to the “Exemplary” criterion column for each graded element to learn more about what is expected. NOTE: All listed requirements in a given criterion box must be met to achieve that criterion score. Contact me should you have any questions.


Main and reply posts submitted after the scheduled due dates may be assessed a penalty according to the late policy in the syllabus.

Main Post Requirements:

  • First, decide which medical condition or disease you will choose for your Course Project topic. (Only one condition/disease!)
    • This medical condition/disease will be the SAME TOPIC you will research throughout all your Course Project assignment steps through Week 8.
  • Next, select only ONE article from a source of information relevant to any of the topics and subtopics of your medical condition/disease (Statistics/Epidemiology, Costs, Anatomy & Physiology/Etiology, Diagnosis/Treatment/Prognosis) from the open web or the Trefry Library.
    • Note: Our Week 2 Discussion helps students kick off researching their selected medical condition/disease. I strongly advise you to review the Outline assignment instructions for more details.
  • Use the name of your article and its source as the title of your initial post (e.g., “Osteoarthritis – CDC”)You cannot use a source that one of your classmates has already used, or you will not receive credit.
  • Evaluate your selected source and write it in APA reference list format:

1. Evaluate the source by explaining why it is or is not an academically and scientifically credible source of information.

A. Provide a minimum of three different pieces of evidence to support your thoughts and state if they are green or red flag examples. Do not summarize the article or focus your post on the details about our medical condition/disease! The focus of your post should be on identifying three pieces of evidence and explaining your rationale as to why each is evidence “for” or “against” its credibility.

Some evidence to consider is the credibility of the author as a subject matter expert, the quality of the reference sources included in the article or lack thereof, the credibility of the publisher or website, etc. Review the  and  (Criteria to Determine Credibility).

Green-Flag evidence example:

            • Author is a subject-matter expert (e.g., “Dr. Mary Smith holds an M.D. in orthopedics.”)

Red-Flag evidence example:

            • Author is not a subject-matter expert and does not provide academically and scientifically credible reference sources. (e.g., “John Jones is a freelance writer with a journalism degree and did not include any credible reference sources.”)

B. Based on the evidence you have provided, state if you feel this source is an overall credible source.


          • “All three pieces of evidence I found were green flags; therefore, I feel this is a credible source overall.”
          • “All three pieces of evidence I found were red flags; therefore, I feel this is not a credible source overall.”
          • “The evidence I found was a mix of red and green flags. Because Wikipedia was one of the sources noted in the article, I believe this is not a credible source overall.”

2. Provide a reference for your source in APA reference format (version 6 or 7).

      • Important Note: APUS discourages the use of auto-citation tools (e.g., citation generators) by students enrolled in 100- and 200-level courses because the University believes students need to learn and understand the reasons for citing sources used in their work, as well as how to cite sources correctly.
      • Use our Trefry Library APA Style resource: 
      • And/or use the Owl at Purdue site for assistance with APA format: 
  • Additional Resources: Access the Natural Sciences Program Guide from the Trefry Online Library at. Select the “Websites” tab. Review the links in the “Internet Research: Tips for Science Students” box.

Reply Posts Requirements: Replies should be focused on the week’s topic. They should be substantive* and demonstrate understanding to be eligible for maximum credit. When replying to your classmates’ main posts, review their source critically, explain whether you agree or disagree with their assessment and APA formatting of their source, and explain why. Respectful and Professional discussion is expected.

*”Substantive” means comments that contribute something new and relevant to the discussion. Thus, a reply that simply conveys agreement or reiterates the original poster’s thoughts is not substantive. Rather, a best-practice reply:

  • contributes a new idea or perspective
  • asks good follow-up questions to points made
  • provides examples or illustrations of a key point
  • points out inconsistencies in an argument
  • shares a new and relevant resource to further the discussion

Evaluating resources

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