Presentation Title

Beyond the Checklist Approach: Teaching Students to Think about How They Will Use Information

Type of Presentation

Individual paper/presentation (20 minute presentation)

Target Audience

Higher Education

Abstract

Students can generally find relevant information for their topic that checks the boxes for “quality,” but then, what do they do with that information? Relying on a checklist approach to source analysis leads to a surface examination of sources, which can then lead to patch-writing and simplistic, bland papers. Instead of focusing just on those outside markers of quality, library instructors at Belmont University also focus on how the source will be used, and for what specific purpose. This holistic approach to evaluating information encourages students to dig deeper into texts while simultaneously teaching that research is about inquiry.

Library instruction at Belmont has been integrated into First Year Seminar for many years, focusing on evaluating information to use in an argumentative paper which requires at least “five substantial sources.” Evaluating information is a complex task, and students need a variety of skills and habits of mind in order to determine if a source is substantial. Using the Framework and a backward design approach to lesson planning, Belmont librarians developed a lesson that teaches students to evaluate information holistically, but focusing on two ideas: 1) first evaluate the outside markers of quality, the checklist approach that includes the author, the publication, date, etc., and 2) evaluate based on how you will use the source in your paper to answer your research question or advance a knowledge claim.

Presenters will share the lesson and the feedback from faculty and students. Attendees will take-away specific strategies for improving instruction on evaluating information.

Presentation Description

Students can generally find relevant information for their topic that checks the boxes for “quality,” but then, what do they do with that source? Using the Framework and a backward design planning approach, Belmont University librarians developed a lesson to teach students to dig deeper when evaluating information. In addition to evaluating for quality (the checklist approach), students must evaluate for usefulness, especially how the source will be used in order to answer a research question or advance a knowledge claim.

Session Goals

The session will help participants revise instruction on evaluating information, shifting the focus from a checklist approach of quality to a more in-depth, holistic analysis of the text itself.

Session Objectives

Participants will

  • Reflect on how they teach source evaluation
  • Discuss the skills and habits of mind students need to evaluate a source holistically
  • Identify appropriately complex example topics to use in order for students to grapple with source analysis
  • Determine how to integrate holistic source analysis into their own instruction

Keywords

Information evaluation; information use, Framework, backward design, research as inquiry

Publication Type and Release Option

Event

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Beyond the Checklist Approach: Teaching Students to Think about How They Will Use Information

Students can generally find relevant information for their topic that checks the boxes for “quality,” but then, what do they do with that information? Relying on a checklist approach to source analysis leads to a surface examination of sources, which can then lead to patch-writing and simplistic, bland papers. Instead of focusing just on those outside markers of quality, library instructors at Belmont University also focus on how the source will be used, and for what specific purpose. This holistic approach to evaluating information encourages students to dig deeper into texts while simultaneously teaching that research is about inquiry.

Library instruction at Belmont has been integrated into First Year Seminar for many years, focusing on evaluating information to use in an argumentative paper which requires at least “five substantial sources.” Evaluating information is a complex task, and students need a variety of skills and habits of mind in order to determine if a source is substantial. Using the Framework and a backward design approach to lesson planning, Belmont librarians developed a lesson that teaches students to evaluate information holistically, but focusing on two ideas: 1) first evaluate the outside markers of quality, the checklist approach that includes the author, the publication, date, etc., and 2) evaluate based on how you will use the source in your paper to answer your research question or advance a knowledge claim.

Presenters will share the lesson and the feedback from faculty and students. Attendees will take-away specific strategies for improving instruction on evaluating information.