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Pasadena City College

Writing Center
English 901

RESEARCH LESSON TWO
3.2 Evaluating Sources Using CAPOW
Purpose
This exercise teaches you an easy and useful way to evaluate sources, a method
called “CAPOW.” CAPOW stands for Currency, Authority, Purpose, Objectivity,
and Writing Style.
Lesson Instructions
1. View the CAPOW video: http://www.youtube.com/v/Ylp9nJpGak4
2. Complete the CAPOW worksheet on the following three articles and one
or more additional articles of your choosing. The three suggested articles
are these:
• Gewertz, Catherine. “Asian Students’ Needs Overlooked in NYC,
Advocacy Group Says.” Education Week 14 July, 2004: 15.
• Gibbs, Nancy. “Roaring Tigers, Anxious Choppers.” Time 31 Jan. 2011:
68.
• Lee, Danielle Moss. “Raising the Bar: Welcome to Campus, Class of
2015.” Education Digest Feb. 2012: 62-64.
You can easily find these articles by putting in the author’s last name and
the article title into the search boxes in EBSCO Host.
3. Complete the CAPOW Questionnaire.

Pasadena City College
Writing Center
English 901

CAPOW Worksheet
Please list below the title for each source you have on this topic. Then evaluate
each source's CURRENCY, AUTHORITY, PURPOSE, OBJECTIVITY and
WRITING STYLE on a 10-point scale (10 is the best score).
You should write notes to yourself about why you scored each source as you did.
If you don’t write notes, you will have a much harder time explaining your
rationale for your scores. Bring this ranking sheet with you when you come to
class. When you are done scoring, rank the sources, with #1 being the best
source and the lowest number being the worst.
Example (for illustration--not a real article):
Article Title: Creating Scholastic Success for Immigrant Students.
C:_9__ A:_7__ P: _5__ O: _5__ W: _9__
Total Score: 35/50
Notes: This article was written recently, so it’s current, but it’s biased in that it
was written by someone who runs a consulting business that works with magnet
schools to create programs for immigrant students. Still, it makes some good
conclusions about how programs can be adapted for that kind of student.

Rating the Articles
1. Article Title: “Roaring Tigers, Anxious Choppers”
C:__9__ A:__8__ P: __9__

O: __10_ W: __9__

Total Score: 45/50
Notes: The managing editor of Time magazine wrote this article. She bases it off
of the reactions one would have while reading Amy Chua’s book “Battle Hymn of
the Tiger Mother. She enlist many sources and opinions from other writers.
2. Article Title: “Asian Students’ Needs Overlooked in NYC”
C:__6__ A:__8__ P: __9__

O: _8___ W: __7__

Total Score: 38/50
Notes: This article was written back in 2004, it’s written by Catherine gewertz

Pasadena City College
Writing Center
English 901

who is an assistant editor at Education Weekly, so it’s is pretty relative to the
subject she writes about.
3. Article Title: “Raising the Bar: Welcome to Campus, Class of 2015”
C:_10___ A:__9__ P: __9__

O: ___7_ W: __8__

Total Score: 44/50
Notes: Danielle Moss Lee, who is vice chair of the board of directors of black
agency executives, wrote this article first basing it off of the rate black and latinos
are going to college. Then talking about the celebration her school does with the
graduating students. Basically the first part was about the actual students, then it
kind of promoted the celebration.

4. Article Title: Race, Ethnicity, and College Success: Examining the
Continued Significance of the Minority-Serving Institution
C:__10__ A:_10___ P: _7___

O: __7__ W: _8___

Total Score: 42/50
Notes: This article has a good meaning and it follows the title and it makes sense
as to who wrote it because their field of work contributes to it.

5. Article Title: Getting Them Enrolled is Only Half the Battle: College
success as a function of race, or ethnicity, gender, and class
C:__10__ A:_9___ P: __9__

O: __7__ W: __8__

Total Score: 43/50
Notes:

Ranked order (Highest to Lowest)

1.___1__ 2. __3___ 3. __2___ 4. __4___ 5.__5___

Pasadena City College
Writing Center
English 901

CAPOW Questionnaire
1. Looking back at the articles, are you satisfied that your final CAPOW ranking
represents an accurate assessment of their validity and usefulness for use in an
essay? Explain.
- Yes because I can really understand what to look for.

2. Do you believe that the best and worst articles are properly identified on your
CAPOW worksheet? Why or why not? What areas are you still not sure of?
- Yes because I went by the CAPOW guidelines and I knew how to rank them
individually.

3. Have you ever tried an evaluation tool similar to CAPOW to rate sources?
What was it, and how did it work?
- No, I haven’t. CAPOW was actually my first tool to rate my sources.

4. If you haven’t used a similar rating tool in the past, what method did you
use to evaluate sources? (Guessing, believe it or not, is a method, though
perhaps not the best one.)
- I would just at if the material actually made sense and if it related to
what I was writing about

5. What parts of the CAPOW lesson do you think will stick with you as you
do your college research?
- The parts where we have to look for the objective, currency, and
purpose.