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Tackling the Complexities of Source Evaluation: Active Learning Exercises that Foster Students' Critical Thinking




Rumble, Juliet
Carter, Toni


Library instructors are often called upon to teach classes devoted to evaluating information sources. These sessions are typically offered in conjunction with writing assignments that require students to locate sources that are “scholarly” or “credible.” Many of us have designed classroom exercises centered on distinguishing types of sources by consulting a standard checklist of criteria. While evaluating sources clearly calls for critical thinking, this type of exercise may instead encourage a “black or white”, or litmus test, approach to source selection. If students are to view research as a means to a deeper understanding of an issue and sources as content that can be used for specific purposes, then instructors must develop classroom activities that allow students to engage with the contexts in which different types of information are created and used. This presentation will showcase lesson plans designed to address the complexities of source evaluation.