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What are some "quick and dirty rules of thumb" that we can teach students about evaluating websites? Exceptional research skills trainer +Debbie Abilock shares some ideas.
 
If attribution has any real meaning, it's got to be tied to analysis. I've just been in a compelling discussion among English teachers on how to teach MLA and APA style. It's frustrating when I hear that some teach citation as a mechanical process - get the form filled out, get the commas right - even let the software do the thinking and tell you what's credible! Evaluation has to be "baked in" to the design of the software, integral to the citation process.

At NoodleTools I've seen students accurately cite a “Press Release” from the Gale databases without appreciating the point of view that any press release will have. I've seen educators frustrated when students treat the Nation and National Review as just two magazines to cite. (See today's Chron. of Higher Ed. article "Freshman Composition Is Not Teaching Key Skills in Analysis").

Just yesterday I found that the first result that InstaGrok gave for “theory of relativity” was to Conservapedia. The encyclopedia article describes the basic relativity theory and gives the formulae in a straightforward, accurate way, building its authority as a credible source. But the general emphasis throughout is that Einstein’s theory, which has been proven in thousands of experiments, is suspect! This, even after the announcement that the recent neutrino results (which could have cast doubt on relativity) were show to be due to a trivial error in the basic set-up; when they re-did the experiments, the results again proved the theory. We've got some challenges here…

To that end I’ve written an article “True – or Not?” for Educational Leadership that argues that analysis and evaluation isn’t one person’s responsibility in school – that we all need to pull on an oar, within our disciplines, in providing ample, integrated, relevant practice in analyzing and evaluating sources. Not just one "Tree Octopus" lesson. And not distinct from citation or note taking or searching.
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Thank you for this! I'm in the preliminary stages of building my first sample IL workshop for my first foray into Camtasia (double the fun) and this is a useful jumping-off point for what I have in mind.
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