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RCE 620: Theories and Techniques of Counseling: Home

RCE 620: Theories and Techniques of Counseling

This course will familiarize students with the terms, concepts, and principles of the major counseling theories, individual counseling practices and interventions, behavior and personality theories, and human growth and potential. Students will begin to develop their own individual philosophy of and approach to counseling and understand how their philosophy and approach impacts their work with their clients. Students will learn individual counseling skills and interventions through role playing, and hands-on experience.

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Evaluating Online Resources

Keep these tips and questions in mind when conducting your research. They'll help you decide if the resources you're looking at are appropriate to use for your research.

Remember that many quality sources are not available through regular Internet search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. Make sure that you consult the library's print and electronic collections when conducting research.

To learn more about Evaluating Online Resources, use the navigation tabs at the top of this box.

Authority: Can you trust the source?

Tip: Look for pages titled About Us, History, FAQ, etc. to find information about the creator(s) of the content or the admin who manages the website. Make sure that you scroll all the way to the bottom of the page, as these links can sometimes be hidden or tucked away in a footer.

If you can't find information on who the author or website creator/admin is, then don't use that resource!

Questions to Consider

  • Can you identify the author?
  • If the author is an individual, what are his or her credentials or other qualifications? Is the author a recognized authority in the relevant field of study?
  • If the author is a corporation, government body, or special interest group, what can you find out about the organization? Make sure that the organization isn't biased one way or the other. Do your research!
  • What is the website's domain? Some domains (such as .edu, .gov, indicate that the website is hosted by a government or educational institution. These are more likely to provide reliable information. Be careful when reviewing websites with .org domains, as they aren't always run by verified organizations.

Currency: Is the information up to date?

Tip: If you can't figure out when the page was created or last updated (usually located at the bottom of the page), then don't use the information. If the content is historical in nature and the author/content manager is reliable, then you can use it.

Questions to Consider

  • Can you determine when the website or page was created? When was the page last updated?
  • Is the information time-sensitive? Some types of information go out of date quickly (such as medical knowledge). Unless the information is historical, if it's older than five or ten years (depending on the subject area), then it's probably outdated and shouldn't be used.

Purpose: Why was the website/page created?

Questions to Consider

  • Who is the intended audience? Is the information written for an academic or popular audience? If academic, is the information written for graduate students, undergrads, or high school students, etc.?
  • Is the website/page intended to inform? To persuade? To sell a product?
  • Does the author present a balanced view of the topic? Are opposing viewpoints acknowledged?

Content: Is the information quality academic research?

Tip: Look for misspellings and casual language.

Questions to Consider

  • Is the website/page organized in a logical and understandable manner?
  • Are the author's arguments well-reasoned and supported by sufficient evidence? Can you verify the information elsewhere?
  • Does the author cite his or her sources? Are there a lot of citations? Are the cited materials mostly scholarly sources? Are they a mix of primary and secondary sources? Or only secondary sources?

Scholarly Journals vs. Popular Magazines

Criteria Scholarly Journal Popular Magazine
Content In-depth, primary account of original findings written by the researcher(s); very specific information, with the goal of scholarly communication. Secondary discussion of someone else's research; may include personal narrative or opinion; general information, purpose is to entertain or inform.
Author Author's credentials are provided; usually a scholar or specialist with subject expertise. Author is frequently a journalist paid to write articles, may or may not have subject expertise.
Audience Scholars, researchers, and students. General public; the interested non-specialist.
Language Specialized terminology or jargon of the field; requires expertise in subject area. Vocabulary in general usage; easily understandable to most readers.
Graphics Graphs, charts, and tables; very few advertisements and photographs. Graphs, charts and tables; lots of glossy advertisements and photographs.
Layout & Organization Structured; includes the article abstract, goals and objectives, methodology, results (evidence), discussion, conclusion, and bibliography. Informal; may include non-standard formatting. May not present supporting evidence or a conclusion.
Accountability Articles are evaluated by peer-reviewers* or referees who are experts in the field; edited for content, format, and style. Articles are evaluated by editorial staff, not experts in the field; edited for format and style.
References Required. Quotes and facts are verifiable. Rare. Little, if any, information about source materials is given.
Other Examples Annals of Mathematics, Journal of Abnormal Psychology, History of Education Quarterly, Almost anything with Journal in the title.

Time, Newsweek, The Nation, The Economist

(Modified table from Tufts)