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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Research Strategies: finding your way through the information fog

by William Badke
 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

4.25 stars
Content Quality: 4.5 stars
Effectiveness: 4.75 stars
Ease of Use: 3.75 stars
Reviewed: Mar 25, 2008 by Library and Information Services
Overview: This website is a condensed version of the book of the same name. The book is primarily used as a textbook for research courses. The website can be used as a tutorial for individuals who want to learn research skills or a research class. Instructors and librarians would find sections of this site that would make good additions to class reading lists and online tutorials and resource guides.
Learning Goals: Materials on this site are meant to assist students in becoming more competent researchers. The learner will understand the research process from topic selection to writing. The learner will understand keyword searching and Boolean logic. The learner will understand the definition and consequences of plagiarism.
Target Student Population: The materials on this site are appropriate for high school, undergraduate and graduate students and business professionals
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Basic website navigation skills, scrolling, ability to use a mouse
Type of Material: training material
Recommended Uses: Sections of this site could be used as additions to lists of required readings or as preparatory reading for research-based assignments.
Technical Requirements: web access

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: The site contains a great deal of information about the research process and is written in a style that would appeal to students. It provides concise, useful information, and clear examples.
Concerns: The material on this site is hampered by aesthetic issues related to design and layout problems. The effect of these issues is that the site detracts from the content. For example, the site uses too many fonts and too many text colors. Although some sections of the site have been updated , the site appears to be an online edition of an earlier print textbook. Due to the material type, an electronic version of a textbook, it would be best to use this site in conjunction with a research assignment and guidance from an instructor.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: Portions of the online text could be used effectively by instructors, especially when combined with examples and other resources. This module provides a logical progression of skills laid out in a logical manner and builds upon itself.
Concerns: Some of the material presented is an earlier edition of a newer print textbook. The author is using this freely available material to promote purchase of the print edition. The reader in the PDFs is often refered to the print text for additional material.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 3.75 stars
Strengths: It is very easy to navigate, with links at both top and bottom.
Concerns: This is a book that has been condensed and reproduced on the Web,and that ishow it looks. Each chapter consists of one web page, some of which are quite long. The site refers to practice exercises that are available only in the print version of the book. The site does not take advantage of web formatting and uses no interactivity.

Comments from Author: Thank you for reviewing the site. As is constantly an issue for websites, they tend to be moving targets. During February 2008, I updated the online textbook portion of the site and gave the whole site an overall new look. The online textbook now is comprised of portions of the new (February 2008) third edition of print textbook. As such, references in the review to an "earlier print textbook" are not accurate. Otherwise, the review is fair, and I have no objection to it being posted. Thank you again for the review. William Badke Associate Librarian, Trinity Western University, for Associated Canadian Theological Schools and Information Literacy ACTS Seminaries | Trinity Western University t: 604.888.7511 ext. 3907 | f: 604.513.2063