Top Banner
Purdue University Writing Lab Purdue University Writing Lab Research and the Internet A workshop brought to you by the Purdue University Writing Lab
27

Purdue University Writing Lab Research and the Internet A workshop brought to you by the Purdue University Writing Lab.

Dec 28, 2015

Download

Documents

Welcome message from author
This document is posted to help you gain knowledge. Please leave a comment to let me know what you think about it! Share it to your friends and learn new things together.
Transcript
Research and the InternetPurdue University Writing Lab
Purdue University Writing Lab
Research and the Internet
A workshop brought to you by the Purdue University Writing Lab
Rationale: Welcome to “Research and the Internet.” This presentation is designed to introduce your students to methods for effectively searching the World Wide Web and evaluating the content of web pages. The twenty-four slides presented here are designed to aid the facilitator in an interactive presentation of search and evaluation strategies. This presentation is ideal for the beginning of a research unit in a composition course or an Internet research assignment.
This presentation may be supplemented with OWL handouts, including “Searching the World Wide Web” (http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/research/r_websearch2.html), “Conducting a Productive Web Search” (http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/research/r_websearch.html), and “Evaluating Sources of Information” (http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/research/r_evalsource.html).
Directions: Each slide is activated by a single mouse click, unless otherwise noted in bold at the bottom of each notes page.
Writer and Designer: Jennifer Liethen Kunka
Contributors: Muriel Harris, Karen Bishop, Bryan Kopp, Matthew Mooney, David Neyhart, and Andrew Kunka
Developed with resources courtesy of the Purdue University Writing Lab
Grant funding courtesy of the Multimedia Instructional Development Center at Purdue University
© Copyright Purdue University, 2000.
Purdue University Writing Lab
The Good, the Bad,
Purdue University Writing Lab
Research and the Internet
The Internet can be a great tool for research, but finding quality web materials and using them to your advantage in your writing can be challenging.
OWL web site:
owl.english.
purdue.edu
Rationale: With the development of the Internet, students have found that conducting research is much easier and more convenient than searching through library stacks. While the Internet can be a great tool for research, locating quality materials can at times be a challenge. The following slides will offer tips on how to make the most of your Internet search.
Activity: To generate discussion, the facilitator may ask students about their level of familiarity with the Internet. Also, the facilitator may ask students about the types of web sites they visit, as well as if they have their own personal web pages.
Purdue University Writing Lab
Purdue University Writing Lab
Virtually any person can publish almost anything on the Internet.
Unlike most print sources, web sources do not have to be professionally accepted and edited to be published.
.
Key Concepts: Books and journal articles generally go through a long process of fact-checking, editing, and revising before being published. However, anyone with a computer and Internet access can post a web site. Just because the information is published online, it does not mean it is true or reliable. The facilitator may note that web sites change frequently and sometimes disappear quickly.
Thinking about evaluation within the search process can help to make web browsing efficient and effective.
Click the mouse after the title question.
Purdue University Writing Lab
Purdue University Writing Lab
Identify the web site
Assess the authorship, content, and purpose of the web site.
This is important because
many web sources are not checked for accuracy.
some personal sites are used to express individual opinions about issues, but not necessarily the facts.
Purdue University Writing Lab
Purdue University Writing Lab
Identify the web site
Sometimes the actual purpose of the web site may not be clearly articulated.
Can be difficult to separate advertising from accurate information.
Some marketing sites will offer misleading information in attempts to sell their products.
Rationale: This slide details some of the problems in identifying web sites. In particular, students often have difficulty separating advertising from information.
Purdue University Writing Lab
Purdue University Writing Lab
Identify the web site
Whenever possible, try to locate the home page.
You can often do this by eliminating some information from the end of the URL.
.org .gov
.com .net
.edu .us
.au .uk
Key Concepts: A good way to determine the authorship of a web site is to try to locate the home page. This can be done by deleting some of the information from the right side of the web address. If you used a search engine and linked to a page with a very long web address with lots of slashes, try deleting information to the right of the slashes until you get to a smaller base address.
Activity: Some information in the web address itself can clue you in to the type of web page you are viewing. The facilitator may choose to ask students what the five examples at the bottom of the slide indicate. A non-profit organization is indicated by .org. Government branches are indicated by .gov. Business sites are usually indicated by .com or .net. Educational institutions are indicated by .edu, but any student using a university web server will also have an .edu address. Official United States’ sites are indicated by .us. Sites published in the British Isles are designated .uk, while .au indicates Australian sites.
Purdue University Writing Lab
Purdue University Writing Lab
Identify the web site
Is the site affiliated with a business or university?
Does the site offer idiosyncratic information about a particular person or group?
Key Concepts: The best way to evaluate a web site is to ask yourself a list of questions. The questions presented on this slide can help a researcher determine the reliability of the information, as well as the purposes for the web site.
A web site that contains a great deal of idiosyncratic information is probably a personal page devoted to a particular group of people, club, or city.
Activity: The facilitator may ask students about the question in the upper right of the slide: “Is the site affiliated with a business or university?” Ask students if a web site affiliated with a university is more or less reliable than other types of web sites. Often web sites sponsored by a university or a particular department of a university offer some of the most current and well-researched information on the Internet. However, at a school such as Purdue, every student can publish his or her own personal web page. Web surfers need to determine if the information provided is scholarly and well-researched, or if it is published by a student clowning around and posting joke pages on the Internet.
Purdue University Writing Lab
Purdue University Writing Lab
Credibility may be compromised by purposeful misinformation or by unintentional neglect.
Locating the name of the site’s creator may be challenging.
Credentials may be missing even if the author’s name is provided.
Key Concepts: After you identify the type of web site you are viewing, you must next assess it for credibility. Information in the web site depends in large part upon the author; unfortunately, the author’s name may not be clearly listed on the web site. If the author’s name is listed, credentials may not be provided. Furthermore, because web sites do not need to be fact checked to be published, we cannot necessarily rely upon the publisher to be honest.
Purdue University Writing Lab
Purdue University Writing Lab
Who is the author of the site?
What is the authority or expertise of the individual or group?
What else comes up when you type the author’s name into a search engine?
Does the source have a political or business agenda?
Is the site sponsored by a political or business group? If so, what can you find out about that group?
Key Concepts: Again, asking yourself a list of questions is the best way to determine the credibility of the web site. Is the author listed? Credentials? If you can find the author’s name, try typing it into a search engine to see what else pops up. Is the author affiliated with a political group or a business? If so, try typing the name of the group into a search engine to see what else pops up.
Purdue University Writing Lab
Note the author’s name: Dr. What a Lying Fool
Purdue University Writing Lab
Authority of the organization sponsoring this page (American Medical Association) gives credence to the information contained on it.
Note the Table of Contents in the frame on the left.
Now let’s look at some specific strategies for qualifying the author and the organization for authority and accuracy.
Purdue University Writing Lab
Purdue University Writing Lab
Examine for credibility
Does the site provide a list of sources or a Works Cited page?
Can you locate any of the source material? How reliable is this material?
Are there links to other credible sites with additional information?
Does the site provide a link for emailing the author or webmaster?
Key Concepts: This slide provides additional questions to test the credibility of a web page. A list of sources indicates the inclusion of source material in the web content, but it is a good idea to check out some of the sources as well. Sources listed on the Works Cited page may also prove useful to the researcher. Does the web site link to other related sites? If the linked sites are not very reliable, you may question the credibility level of the author’s own site--such links show poor judgment. Also, can the author or webmaster be contacted? If so, they may be willing to answer questions about their web site or even consent to an e-mail interview!
Purdue University Writing Lab
*
*
The “look” of this site is very dignified, and the title sounds as if it would present several viewpoints on a subject. However, even in the early sentences it is clear that the author has an axe to grind.
Use of emotionally charged words
Purdue University Writing Lab
Note: read the first paragraph aloud.
As the article progresses it becomes clear that this page espouses the white supremacy point of view. The author is promoting his ideas, with no thought of providing balanced coverage of the subject.
At the end of the document the author does give an e-mail address and a fax number, but there is no other way of determining his credentials for writing this document.
Purdue University Writing Lab
Purdue University Writing Lab
Determine depth and
scope of information
Does the material show signs of research, such as references to other sources, hyperlinks, footnotes, or a reference page?
Does the author consider opposing points of view?
How closely does the site really match the information for which you are searching?
Corroborate information whenever possible!
Key Concepts: This slide again offers a list of questions that students should ask when they review web sites for their depth and scope of information. Also, students need to allow themselves enough time to research their work. Encourage them not to just use information from the first five web sites they locate--they should find the five best web sites on their topics.
Activity: The facilitator may ask students why the consideration of opposing points of view is important in a well-researched web site. The presence of opposing viewpoints suggest that the author has carefully considered multiple viewpoints about an issue and has come to an educated conclusion about the issue.
Purdue University Writing Lab
*
*
By contrast, at the beginning of this web page the author provides his affiliation with UVA.
Purdue University Writing Lab
*
*
His statements are documented throughout with no less than 20 endnotes!
The documentation provides a clue to the validity of the information
Purdue University Writing Lab
Purdue University Writing Lab
Determine depth and
scope of information
Are there a lot of flashy pictures, colors, animated images, and logos designed to attract attention? Do these eye-catching images distract you from noticing a lack of credible information? Do they disguise an attempt to get you to buy something?
Key Concepts: This slide highlights the visual impact of a web site, demonstrating how easy it is to become distracted from the content by the visual appeal. All of the fireworks graphics on this page will flash briefly and disappear.
Purdue University Writing Lab
Purdue University Writing Lab
Different from print sources:
Information covered on web pages is often presented for easy digestion and visual appeal.
Information may not provide sufficient depth or scope.
Material may be affected by marketing or political bias.
Sometimes web sources may not be the right sources for the information you need.
Key Concepts: Web researchers need to determine the depth and scope of information provided on web pages. Remember, looking at the Internet on a computer monitor is very similar in some ways to watching a giant television: web pages are generally designed to be visual appealing for quick and easy digestion by the viewer. Consequently, information may not be presented as thoroughly as it might be in a book or journal article. Also, the material included on web pages may be dramatically altered to fit the marketing or political agendas of the publishers.
Finally, the facilitator may want to stress that web sources are not always the best sources of information. Students sometimes tend to have an overreliance on the Internet, thinking that all information is out there somewhere in cyberspace. The best research students can do is to combine web sources with other print sources, including books, magazines, and academic journals, as well as interviews and questionnaires.
Purdue University Writing Lab
*
*
Here are two pages related to smoking. This one focuses on smokers’ rights, and has a clear point of view. In fact, this page happens to be hosted by the R. J. Reynolds Company.
Purdue University Writing Lab
*
*
By contrast, this page claims to link to sites with diverse views about smoking.
The Table of Contents bears this out: Anti-Smoking Groups and ProSmoking Documents are both represented.
Health Aspects are balanced with Smoking Glamour.
Purdue University Writing Lab
Purdue University Writing Lab
Assess date of information
Dates on web pages can mean:
Date the author first wrote or developed the material
Date site was first available on the Internet for public access
Date site was most recently updated, including revisions, additions, or subtractions to the material
Key Concepts: Though information on web sites may be credible, it may not be current. The date of the material may be completely omitted from the web site. To be sure you are covering all of the recent changes in the field or topic you are studying, be sure to assess the currency of your information. This is not always an easy task.
Purdue University Writing Lab
Purdue University Writing Lab
Assess date of information
Does the site clearly state a date of creation or a date for the most recent update?
More importantly, does the information cover recent changes or advances in the field or topic you are researching?
Key Concepts: Some sites will state at the bottom of the home page statements such as “Date of Creation: 6/1/99” or “Updated 7/7/99.” If dates are clearly stated in this way, you should be able to rely upon them.
However, rely upon your context clues. Does the information provided cover recent changes or advances in your topic? If not, the information is probably outdated.
Example: For example, if your topic is cloning and you located a web site that discusses cloning as if it had not taken place yet, you would know that the information was published before Dolly, Gene, and other famous cloning experiments were successfully completed.
Purdue University Writing Lab
*
*
This page was last updated on December 23, 1998 and was captured on August 17, 1999.
Purdue University Writing Lab
Purdue University Writing Lab
Identify the web site
Assess date of information
Rationale: This slide reemphasizes the main points of the presentation. This is a good time for the facilitator to field any questions about the presentation content.
Activity: Click on the OWL hyperlink and visit the collection of search engines on the lower left section of the page.
Ask students to imagine that they will write a paper about US tobacco lawsuits. Have them go to Hotbot and type in the keyword “tobacco.” Hotbot will provide the ten “hottest” sites with that keyword; the majority of them will be tobacco shops, companies selling methods to stop smoking, and smoking afficianado pages. You may find one or two sites related to the lawsuits. Then have your students try the same search in Yahoo. They will find information categorized into sections relating to business, hobbies, health, and news. Note that Yahoo can help to identify the types of web sites you visit, saving time and energy in the search process. You might then choose to have students come up with pairs of keywords to enter into the site, such as “tobacco and legislation” or “smoking and lawsuits.” This will refine the search even further.
Visit the Mankato (Minnesota) web pages and ask your students to assess their reliability. The official web page is located at <http://www.ci.mankato.mn.us>. Another page is located at <http://www.lme.mankato.msus.edu/mankato/mankato.html>. This page is posted by Mankato State University, and it is designed as both a joke and an exercise in assessing the reliability of web pages. Have students follow the links on the site, notice the pictures, and the many awards and press listings noted at the bottom of the home page. Then have students read the “Disclaimer” flashing at the top of the screen (be sure to jump to Part Four). The letter from Maureen Gustafson is also a treat. Just because a page LOOKS like it might be reliable doesn’t mean it is.
Visit a search engine of your choice and ask your students to provide some search terms for some sample class searches and web page evaluations.
Purdue University Writing Lab
Where can you go for help with researching the Internet?
Purdue University Writing Lab
Email brief questions: owl@owl.english.purdue.edu
Key Concept: As the presentation concludes, the facilitator can remind students that they can come to the Writing Lab for extra help locating information on the Internet.
Click mouse after the title question.
Check OWL for additional materials on searching the web. In addition to OWL resources, other works consulted in creation of this presentation include:
Alexander, Jan, and Marsha Tate. "Teaching Critical Evaluation Skills for the World Wide Web.” Widener University. <http://www.science.widener.edu/~withers/webeval.htm>
Axelrod, Rise B. and Charles R. Cooper. The St. Martin Guide to Writing. 5th ed. New York: St. Martin’s P, 1997.
Grassian, Esther. "Thinking Critically about World Wide Web Resources.” University of California-Los Angeles. <http://www.library.ucla.edu/libraries/college/help/critical/index.htm>
Harris, Muriel. Prentice Hall Reference Guide to Grammar and Usage. 4th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2000.
Harris, Robert. "Evaluating Internet Research Sources.“ Vanguard University of Southern California. <http://www.vanguard.edu/rharris/evalu8it.htm>
Jacobson, Trudi and Laura Cohen. "Evaluating Internet Sites.“ University of Albany. <http://www.albany.edu/library/internet/evaluate.html>
Ormondroyd, J., Engle, M., & Cosgrave, T. “How to Critically Analyze Information Sources.” Cornell University. <http://www.library.cornell.edu/okuref/research/skill26.htm>