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Gentlemommy

Rules for internet research?

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I'm hosting a debate class for middle school kids this fall. I'm really excited as this is a fantastic group of kiddos! One thing I'd like to address with them is how to research online. Things like how do they know they are reading a reliable source and not an opinion webpage? How will they cite internet sources? How do they deal with plagiarizing as it pertains to graphs/charts? Is it allowable to just print those and put them into their paper? Any other advice you have for me to address with them before we start? Thanks!

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You'll probably get some better replies than mine.  But, when my kids are writing research papers, I tell them NO WIKIPEDIA!!!  And no blogs.  They can find online information from academic sources, like sometimes universities will have some great resources on a particular topic.  Or it could be a society or government agency where there are experts...like USGS, NASA, etc.    

 

Mine have been pretty good about discerning whether or not a source is academic or like someone's blog.

 

Citing internet sources - we've been using Writer's, INC for that information.

 

Plagiarizing - we talk about that constantly.  Put things into your own words, cite sources, etc.  I don't know about using charts and graphs.  I wonder if they cite the graph/chart if that would be ok?  That's a good question.

 

Good luck!  That sounds like it's going to be a great class!

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Go look at the Purdue Online Writing Lab: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/section/2/

 

It's a great resource and should answer most of your questions. They also have YouTube videos.

 

Georgetown University also has nice page about evaluating internet sources on their library website: http://www.library.georgetown.edu/tutorials/research-guides/evaluating-internet-content

 

As to the graph/chart issue I was always told to include them with a citation both in the text itself (with a caption) as well as on the works cited page.

 

Purdue OWL has a page for that: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/14/

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I'm not an expert, but it occurred to me there must be some shared resources or open educational resources out there since I would expect this to be taught somehow in public schools. I found https://www.oercommons.org/courses/information-exploration-becoming-a-savvy-scholar-fall-2006 although I don't know if it's good, and I'm sure there's other options.

 

Many/most people do say no wikipedia, and of course you shouldn't cite it, but I feel like it is discouraged to look at it at all. I encourage reading it for a little baseline knowledge, to discover for example if you really do want to research that subject, and frequently some of the works cited at the end of the wikipedia article can be useful to read.

 

I think introducing the idea of searching on article/journal online databases and how that is different than just simply googling a random internet page is so valuable, and will serve kids well heading into high school and then university. Find out what is available through the public library, and you can also find out if the library itself will do any of this type "training" or classes.

 

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I agree with no citing Wikipedia. However, at the end of most Wikipedia articles are links to more reliable sources on the topic. So, Wikipedia can be useful in helping find other resources. Google Scholar is also a good way to find good info. And, check your library's e-sources. Our library system has excellent online research available through many reputable sources.

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