This activity would be designed to encourage students to learn about what they are viewing on the Internet and what makes for a credible source as well as what does not.
Some points of discussion would include:
1) Scholarly Articles: Using Galileo, Google Scholar, Proquest Databases, etc. to find what you are looking for. What search terms should you entered? The difference between peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed.
2) Websites: What clues to look for to make sure that the website is a credible source. The difference between .com, .org, .edu, etc.
3) Wikis: Is Wikipedia a credible source of information? How easy is it to “write whatever you want”?
4) Chat-rooms/Discussion Forums: Should they ever be used as a source for research?
5) Social Media: Facebook/Myspace/Tumblr/Google+ the list goes on and on, are any of these social media websites credible sources of information?
Student Activity: Choose a topic
1) Find 3 Scholarly Articles
Make sure that they are up to date!
Make sure that they are all connected and relevant to your chosen topic
Document the search terms that you us
Are they peer-reviewed?
2) Find 1 credible website on your topic
Find 1 not-credible website on your topic
Compare and Contrast the similarities and differences between the two
Create a proper citation for your credible website
3) Find the Wikipedia article on your topic
Read over it, are there any errors that stick out to you right away?
Look through the list of resources at the bottom of the page, do they all seem credible?
Take a moment to view the “Discussion” tab on your Wikipedia entry. What are people talking about? Do they seem like experts or trustworthy sources?
4) Locate a Discussion Forum on your topic or a related issue
Are all users identified or anonymous?
When they post, do they give sources? or is it all their opinion?
Would you use any of the posts as a source of research?
5) Locate a group, page, discussion board, etc. related to your topic on one of the Social Networking websites
Are the posts done by people using proper grammar?
Do they list their sources?
Do they seem like experts or credible sources of information?
How would you use this information in your research?
Georgia Performance Standards for this task:
ELA10W3 The student uses research and technology to support writing. The student
a. Formulates clear research questions and utilizes appropriate research venues (i.e.,
library, electronic media, personal interview, survey) to locate and incorporate
evidence from primary and secondary sources.
b. Uses supporting evidence from multiple sources to develop the main ideas within the
body of a researched essay, a composition, or a technical document.
c. Synthesizes information from multiple sources and identifies complexities and
discrepancies in the information and the different perspectives found in each medium
(i.e., almanacs, microfiche, news sources, in-depth field studies, speeches, journals,
d. Integrates quotations and citations into a written text while maintaining the flow of
e. Uses appropriate conventions for documentation in the text, notes, and bibliographies
by adhering to an appropriate style manual such as the Modern Language Association Handbook, The Chicago Manual of Style, Turabian, American Psychological Association, etc.
f. Designs and publishes documents, using aids such as advanced publishing software
and graphic programs.
Rationale for Assignment: Students continually turn to Internet sources for research as the sources online become more numerous. They need to know how to filter through what they can use with confidence, and what they should stay away from. However, they also need to know that the new collaborative format is only gaining popularity and will continue to be a part of our lives. The collaborative format is not necessarily UNreliable. Students should appreciate the resource that it represents but also have the judgement to know what to use and when to use it.