Using the Internet to Collect Reliable Data for Writing Assignments
The purpose of this assignment is to help students learn to analyze research information, especially Internet webpages. Many students do not realize that Internet information, like more traditional sources, is not always reliable or true, and in writing assignments they often incorporate quotes or paraphrase information that is either spurious, at worst, or misleading, at best. Although students (including us!) have always had varying degrees of success evaluating sources for research purposes, the Internet is singularly ripe for this type of misuse because of ease of access and the ease with which anyone could mislead, either intentionally or unintentionally. Also, we have been slow to formalize special procedures for evaluating this relatively new research and information tool. Students need to know how to evaluate websites so that they are informed about the validity of a website before they incorporate the information into their own writing.
Type of Task:
one weekend or overnight
writing and Internet research, evaluation of sources, web page evaluation, reliability of sources
Uses Internet search engines, understands the nature of the lack of a central organizing element for the Internet, understands how to evaluate print sources
transfer understanding about the evaluation of print sources to the evaluation of Internet sources; determine the usefulness of Internet information with evidence to support claim
Students may use the online version of instructions with accompanying links (sent to listserv) to access the evaluation website. Evaluations are collected with a copy of the source and included with a one-page data analysis.