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LIB 111: Expository Writing: Computer Says "No Comment"

1: Magazine Title

New Scientist appears to be the name of this magazine (found by using the magazine limiter in the left-hand column of the MCPHS SmartSearch), but if I want to be sure, I'll Google New Scientist Wikipedia to see what it can tell me. What happens if you do that?

2: Date

There are no hard and fast rules about the "perfect" date range for if something can still be considered credible or not if it's about a scientific topic. 5 years maximum is a good general rule of thumb, so 2018 is fine.

3: Author

Non-scholarly articles don't always list who the author is; very often, it's a staff writer who may be asked to write articles on a broad variety of topics, with no particular area of specialty. In this case, we at least know that Timothy Revell specifically concentrates on technology, which is very relevant to our topic - even if he doesn't have a degree in the subject.

4: Body of Article

Even if you are not very familiar with this topic, if you compare the language in this article with the language in the scholarly article, it should be apparent that this would be easier for the average person to read. Because New Scientist is not only meant for scientists, scholars, etc. it does not presume readers have a high level of knowledge about the topics in its articles - a big difference between scholarly and non-scholarly sources.

Also, note that this article is still a few pages long, rather than just a paragraph or two. A credible non-scholarly article should still have some substance.

5: In-Text Citations

You'll notice that this article does not have parenthetical citations like the scholarly article did. That's because references are not expected in newspaper or magazine articles. Instead, you may see the types of "references" listed here, where the author mentions the work of individuals or groups in a general way. If interested, you could probably Google the information we're given here to find out more about this specific UC-Berkeley project, but it's a more convoluted process. However, these types of references can be verified, and are better than none at all.

6: Tone & Bias

While the tone of this article slants negative towards artificial intelligence, it does point out what's possible, while keeping a firm eye on what the challenges would be. I might still choose to use this article, but knowing that it has a slight negative bias. The important part is to be aware of the potential bias.


Example: Computer Says "No Comment"

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