Friday, April 4, 2008

Teaching English 101

This week I received a request for assistance. A graduate student wanted me to come give some instruction to her students on doing research for their papers, but most of all she wanted for them to have time to conduct their own research. I said we could do this. I received the email from a colleague who had been working the Reference Desk on Monday, emailed her, and received a response back on Tuesday. I called her and we decided that I could come to her class to give a basic refresher on Wednesday and open up the instruction room on Friday for her students to do their research.

Wednesday's class went fairly well. I handed out the CRAAP Assessment handout. It includes the same information that can be found on one of the Oboler Library's webpages titled "Evaluating Information--Applying the CRAAP Test." We talked about the importance of evaluating the sources we find when doing our research. I told them this handout reminded me of the Spiderman movie when Peter Parker takes his photos to the editor at the newspaper. The editor quickly dismisses Peter's work, saying "Crap, crap, crap" as he flips through the photos. Peter knows they are high quality photos, so he has the confidence to take them back to try somewhere else. Students can likewise gain confidence that their work represents high-quality research if they also follow the assessment criteria in the CRAAP Test:
  1. Currency: the timeliness of the information
  2. Relevancy: the importance of the information for your needs
  3. Accuracy: the reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the informational content
  4. Authority: the source of the information
  5. Purpose: the reason the information exists
I conducted a few searches in our databases and asked them to pick a source that might be useful for them, according to the search question I had in mind. Then I invited them to tell me why they think this information would be good.

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