Students today are hyper-connected to information, but do they know how to research? Nope.
Anecdotally, I know from my own work with students that the majority do not know how to find high-quality information, evaluate the credibility of digital sources, properly cite resources, or effectively analyze and apply that information.
While presenting a “search smarter” lesson in the computer lab, one of my students raised his hand and proudly proclaimed that he always uses the information in the yellow box because it is “the best.” I informed him that the yellow box was advertisement space.
The ERIAL (Ethnographic Research in Illinois Academic Libraries) project found that “only seven out of 30 students whom anthropologists observed at Illinois Wesleyan conducted what a librarian might consider a reasonably well-executed search.” Clearly, most students are not “college and career ready” when it comes to research. This may, in part, explain the emphasis on research in the Common Core.
The Common Core states that college and career ready students are able to:
- Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating an understanding of the subject under investigation.
- Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.
- Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
In an effort to support my students in developing their ability to analyze the credibility of resources, I designed a Google form called “Got Credibility.” I share this form with teachers whenever I lead professional development on the Common Core. I created the silent screencast below that walks people who are new to Google through the process of making a copy of this form for their own use with students.
This form can be edited once you make a copy of the spreadsheet. I hope other educators will find this a useful tool to support students in developing the ability to evaluate digital resources.
If you have a strategy you use to teach research, please share it!