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Engineering 190W - Spring 2024 - Foresta Section

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Julia Gelfand
Office: Science Library 228

Phone: 949-824-4971


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Course Overview & Introducing ENGR 190W

This class focuses on your career as an Engineering major and allows you to focus on communicating the major issues that you have focused on and and how to jump-start your career in practice as an Engineer or if you continue your graduate education.  It introduces you to:

  • the work style of engineers in different settings, how to promote empathy and compassion and develop an understanding of diversity
  • how engineering information is released using specialized content such as patents, standards, papers, proceedings, journal literature, book content and related materials
  • how written and verbal communication, both technical and casual conducted individually and within groups can determine the outcomes you want for success
  • engineering ethics
  • the value of sourcing & correctly citing your information, evaluating it carefully, and being informed about misinformation
  • thinking about presentation, using images, prompts, and addressing different audiences

There is an accompanying PowerPoint presentation below that reviews technical communication issues with examples of resources highlighting the forms and formats of engineering literature.

Evaluating Information

When using Online or Internet Resources, consider Search Engines vs. metasites - evaluate resource - be attentive to domain -may include .com, .edu, .org, .gov, .net

Evaluation of evaluating strategies - there are many different strategies and this guide highlights two, CRAAP and S.I.F.T. and at the end I will also note some other methods - but consider the following criteria:

Applying the CRAAP Test - for Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, Purpose

Goal is to establish relevancy.  The evaluation criteria includes these issues:

Scope of coverage

Currency – be able to distinguish currency from timeliness

Relevance – meaningful to what audience; at what level; will you cite it as authoritative?

Authority – stem is author – establishes the source of the information – author/publisher/source/sponsor; organizational affiliations & credentials; contact information

Accuracy – reliability, correctness of content; supported by evidence; is it verifiable; is tone unbiased, objective, impartial & free of emotion; free of errors?

Purpose – are hypotheses and authors’ intentions clear?  Why is content important – to inform, teach, sell, entertain or persuade?  Any political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional or personal biases?

Ease of use – Capturing, copying, citing; design & presentation

Another method to evaluate is S.I.F.T - so:

Vertical vs lateral reading
Stop – enter search in a browser or database
Investigate the source
Find better coverage – more relevant to information need
Trace things back to the original context
Importance of valuing information
Need to give credit to sources consulted – citations, references
Establish credibility & legitimacy of content
Be relieved of misinformation, false/fake information
Additional information evaluation tools that have overlap:
  • CCOW - for Credentials, Claims, Objectives
  • RADAR Test - Relevancy, Authority, Date, Appearance, Reason for Writing

Remember when we cite or quote, we are CHOOSING to bring other voices into our paper or scholarly work.

Let's ask, Why we cite?

  • to give credit to authors
  • to show your work
  • to be a responsible researcher
  • to avoid plagiarism

Often called Citation Chasing we have the standard two parts:

  • Backward chasing - refers to the set of references or bibliography of a work that has influenced current citation
  • Forward chasing - refers to the method of future citations that referenced the specific work - may be more nuanced or specific but also provides new applications

Think of 5 criteria you use to evaluate information and what questions to you ask yourself to determine relevancy or whether your information need is met?

  • consider that we are on information overload - how to distinguish between accurate information & misinformation
  • transition from reading vertically (CRAAP) vs laterally - use 4 moves, known as S.I.F.T, with these action items:
    • stop - open up a browser tab & enter a search term
    • investigate the source(s) - who wrote or said this? who is the author? what process or methodology was used to produce this information and what systems are in place with this source to catch mistakes and correct them?
    • find better coverage - consult other sources, demonstrating the historical context, disciplinary approaches, are there patterns of perspectives or dominant ideas that emerge, and what voices are missing?
    • trace things back to the original context - is the evidence misquoted or misrepresented; where is the data from & how was it collected and can we make legitimate conclusions from it?
    • watch this video on lateral reading strategies (3.47) from the Civic Online Reasoning curriculum, co-sponsored by the Stanford History Education Group


Things that will make a difference include:

  • UC Library Search - the search & retrieval of items in the UCI Library collection in all formats including books, journals, films, databases, audio recordings, scores, articles, etc as well as items found across all ten UC Campus libraries  Filtering using the left side bar will increase your relevancy. 
  • UC eLinks will change to "Get it at UC" - a purple link that turns orange when you hover or click - will happen with different databases over time
  • Web VPN links will change from to
  • Registering for DUO (multi-factor or second layer of authentication) - you may need to register by following these directions