Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Information Literacy

The American Library Association's (ALA) Presidential Committee on Information Literacy, Final Report (1989) states, "To be information literate, a person must be able to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information"  Please respond to all three of the questions below.

1. As a graduate student how comfortable are you navigating online resources for the purpose of research? 
2. What part(s) of the process in obtaining information online are you successful or challenged by in conducting your own research for assignments:  (a) recognizing when information is needed, (b) the ability to locate information, (c) evaluating information and/or (d) effectively using the information?
3. In your opinion (and previous experience) which one is most difficult for students (and WHY?): (a) recognizing when information is needed, (b) the ability to locate information, (c) evaluating information or (d) effectively using the information.  
  

17 comments:

  1. 1. At this point in time I am fairly comfortable navigating online resources for research purposes. I began at USD as an undergraduate with no idea how to conduct reserach. After being exposed to the library's online archive of research journals and articles, I found myself feeling more comfortable in searching for legitimate sources for research. I mostly used JSTOR and the literature journals (as an English major) and eventually ventured down into the stacks. As a graduate student I've been guided by the help of professors and the librarians and have become even more confident in navigating the online archives and journals at USD. I now understand how to search using key words, narrow down searches to find peer-reviewed articles, etc. I've also gained a new love for the stacks as I've realized how to navigate that area even better. Once in a while I will do a Google or a Wikipedia search, but it is usually regarding a small question that I have, and these searches rarely really inform my reserach. Although I do feel comfortable using USD's resources, I also realize that my online research is fairly limited.

    2. I am usually pretty successful in locating the information that I need. I think that the reason for this is that I've realized how to productively form online searches, and also how to reform these searches and create more efficient ones when they aren't successful. I definitely feel challenged in terms of recognizing when information is needed as I typically find myself with a huge stack of articles in hand (which I usually cannot possibly have the time to get through). My usual process is to take all of these articles home, read the abstracts, quickly skim those that seem the most relevant, and then make piles (relevant, possibly relevant, most likely not relevant) and try to start reading them in that order. I realize that I end up in this position because I don't know how to recognize which articles are necessary during my search (and I usually don't want to miss anything that could be relevant). I need to find a way to improve my searching to recognize when information is needed in order to make my research more efficient as well as to waste less paper!

    3. I think that most students struggle with being able to locate information. The Project Information Literacy videos showed a lot of undergraduate students who said that they typically started research with Wikipedia (even though they knew it wasn't a reliable source). Students in these videos also said they felt overwhelmed with how much information is out there, and struggled to understand where to locate relevant information for their research. Although there is a great deal of information at our fingertips via the internet, it seems that most students feel like looking for relevant information is like searching for a needle in a haystack. I definitely felt this way as an undergraduate before being exposed to USD's online archives and journals, and I still feel this way when using the internet for a number of different research purposes. Knowing what information comes from legitimate websites is another factor that ties into difficulty with locating specific, relevant information for research.

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  2. 1. As a graduate student I would have to say that I'm not as comfortable navigating online resources as I would like to be. Being an education major, I did not really have to write many research papers during my undergraduate studies. Those research papers I did have to write normally involved class texts, so the online component was largely absent from these assignments. I honestly think the last time I had a tutorial as to how to use and find internet research occurred when I was in middle school.

    2a. I feel that I am pretty competent is recognizing when information is needed. I try to outline any paper I write and then I do a "brain dump" where I just write all pertenent information with no paragraph structure. Once I've done this, I then logically organize the paper to find which areas have excess content and which areas need more content.

    2b. I'm probably weakest at locating information. I admittedly will use Wikipedia to get an overall understanding of a topic, but where I go from there is often difficult. I have yet to find an online encyclopedia that I feel comfortable using and that doesn't oversimply topics that I'm researching.

    2c and 2d. I feel confident in evaluating the information. Coming from a history teaching background, I feel confident in evaluating and determining bias in various writings. I ask my students to do this, so I feel I should at least be competent in this area. I also feel that I can effectively evaluate a topic when all is said and done. This goes back to my initial brain dump and once my research has taken shape I feel I can formulate a thesis and effectively communicate and support it throughout the paper.

    3. I think the most difficult thing for students (especially younger ones) is recognizing when information is needed. This is what I call "copy-and-paste syndrome." Students effectively find websites and information pertenent to the topic, but from there they can't determine what is important, or they just assume all of it is important because why else would it be there? I'll often have to say "Ok, now we know what Encycopedia Britanica thinks about this topic, I want to hear what YOU think about it." Michael Eisenberg was right on the money when he said students need instruction in this area. I especially feel this is an important part of education in a world that becoming more global by the minute.

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  3. 1. I think that my level of comfort when it comes to navigating the internet for the purpose of research is colored by my level of comfort navigating the internet in general. Having grown up when the internet was the fasted growing resource available, I often find it easier to research online because I am more accustomed to navigating the internet than physical research in a library or similar facility. I don’t, however, always find the research itself to be a comfortable experience. Using the internet as a resource for research can open up a lot of issues of legitimacy and scholarly value. I’m not always clear what is generally considered accurate information or information that is pertinent for use in a research paper or other scholarship. I think that using the internet for research also tends to lend your work a kind of discredit in the eyes of professors or colleagues that are more comfortable with traditional forms of reference, no matter how legitimate your sources might actually be.

    2. I’m not always confident in my abilities to recognize when information is needed. I’m more comfortable when completing literary analysis or similar assignments where the materials that will be referenced or cited are provided or common among ever student in the class. I’m not always sure when I’ll need information because I don’t have a lot of experience developing research questions and then finding the information to answer those questions. I’m confident in my ability to locate information once I know what I am looking for or the general idea of the research topic. I also feel confident evaluating the material once I have collected it, and coming to conclusions based on the data or reflecting on the conclusions that others have come to, and then effectively using that information to substantiate my argument(s).

    3. In my experience, I think that it is most difficult for students to effectively use information that they have found through research. I often find that my college peers have the tendency to provide their quotes or information in a paper without first forming an opinion of the information or analyzing it further in their writing. The information is just inserted into the paper or assignment without any lead up or analysis following. I find the same to be true with the students I teach, they excel at the research end of things, but then don’t know how to use what they have found to form an argument, or support their point of view. Sometimes they even supply two facts or accounts in one paragraph that contradict one another, without any explanation. I’ve found that the hardest thing to get students to do when they are completing an assignment that requires research is to get them to think critically about the information they uncover.

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  4. 1. I think I am comfortable to navigate resources which I need for my own interests or in order to have class presentation for my prior knowldege as a backgrounding, but when I try to find some useful resources as a graduate level research, I feel uneasy to find 'the exact resources.' As we've seen through podcasts and videos about 'information literacy', the most of information on the web engine seems shallow in depth(1/4 is reliable)so sometimes doubtful in credibility. The simple and easy step to brainstorm is to google it or go to wikipedia, then have initial tip for the topic. But to get the further detail information or the process of narrowing the topic is always not easy and even feel like time consuming working, because compare to spend my time to get that information, the tangible outcome is less than I expected.

    2. I think I can pretty manageable in recognizing when information is needed, but I feel challenge when I face to find the locate information. Like I mentioned in #1, it takes too much time to find the right materials for my paper. Whenever I search for the information, I feel like I touch only limited parts of the elephant so I don't have no idea whether these information is the right piece in a big picture. I usually go to the library web engine for research and there are tons of search engine A through Z. Thanks to help of librarian, I found some idea of how to narrow down the topic or find some reliable resources. But, still finding the right material is hard process for me. After examining all the resources that I needed, the evaluating is another hard procedure to go through, after I pruning the resources, still I have to ask their qualities or reliability. In this sense, I felt I need more advanced filtering engine system. Then I print them out for using the information and this is rather comfortable step. The process of examining thoroughly about the resources in the previous step assure the quality in using them.


    3. I think students have difficulty in both locating information and evaluating and using effectively information. From my teaching experiece in the classroom, when I give an assignment in particular topic which is related to find information through all possible resources including internet, then they ask so many questions in details. So I have to specify them clearly. But before them, I felt that they need extra curriculum for information literacy. That is because when they had portfolio or presentation, their information was too broad or shallow in depth and their assignment were so similar with another. Some students, they didn't mention about the sources and even other students just 'cut and paste' from the articles. I don't expect them as an undergraduate or graduate level of quality, but still they need a skill to evaluate their information and how to use the information for their assignment. I think this is the common problem for almost all the student around the world like Michael Eisenberg's webcast and videos that we've seen. The information literacy is another form of literacy we need to be educated ourselves and also we educate our students.

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  5. 1. I feel quite comfortable by now after I spent a lengthy time of a struggle to find right journals to do my action research proposal which requires the depth of information. At first, it was overwhelming experiences although I was trained to locate information and use it effectively. In other words, the more I invest my time to get to know the system the less afraid I become to face the process of a research. The guideline was out there for me to navigate online resources, however, I had to get used to the steps of the process. In short, there wasn't any shortcut to get there for me.

    2. It is much easier for me recognizing when information is needed and locating/evaluating information than using it effectively. Still I have to spend some time to get the exact articles to justify and prove my hypotheses. The problem for me is how to juxtapose those articles and my opinions to make a point logically. It becomes a serious matter to connect dots to show a perfect shape of something in my mind.

    3. I believe that most of students have difficulty to evaluate information for the purpose of research. Often they take the facevalue of information because it says so. The students hardly know how to narrow down outrageous amount of information to use it effectively. However, this is the process in which they can develop independent thought and critical thinking. Probably they haven't got education about this process, and they are on their own. Or the result of a research is so focused that the process is less valued by the students. In essence, infromation literacy is the focal point to help them to think independently and critically and connect themselves to the world to learn what they need to know.

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  6. As a graduate student, I feel comfortable navigating online resources for the purpose of research. When I was an undergraduate student at Vanderbilt University, I was able to find scientific articles and journals through Vanderbilt’s online database in order to write research papers. I feel confident that I will be able to use the University of San Diego’s online resources to write research papers.

    When gathering research online for assignments, I feel I am most comfortable recognizing when information is needed and effectively using information. The YouTube video made me realize that one frustration I often come across is finding information that does not seem current enough for the paper I am writing. Additionally, the video mentioned looking for a very specific statistic or fact. I often find myself in that position: looking for very specific information that I cannot locate.

    As an elementary school teacher, I believe my students have the most difficult time evaluating information. Students need to be taught to be critical readers and constantly evaluate information they find online. Instead of telling my students, “Don’t believe everything you hear,” I tell them, “Don’t believe everything you read.” (One example I wanted to give is the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus, but I noticed we will be discussing this in class.) Not only do students need to be aware of incorrect or false information, they need to take into consideration the author’s audience, purpose and bias. Even instructional materials such as textbooks can be evaluated for bias. As Eisenberg revealed, only 27% of sites students use are judged reliable for academic research purposes. I agree with Eisenberg that students need to be “discriminating users of information” and use technology “effectively and efficiently.”

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  7. 1. When I first attended USD ten years ago as a graduate student in the credential program, we were given instruction on how to use the internet for research. It was new to most of us. It quickly became apparent that I would not be able to get along without a computer, so I used some of my student loan funds to buy one. Now, in 2009, a computer is an essential tool for day-to-day living, let alone for research. I have become very comfortable using the internet to access general information. Conducting research on the internet is a bit more problematic because of the need for more specificity and reliable sources.

    2. In my research, I tend to use the sites with which I am most familiar, such as ERIC or university library data bases. It can be frustrating sometimes, as one thing leads to another, and the amount of links grows exponentially. I can relate to the image in the video of the hand reaching for the Holy Grail. I know that better information is out there, finding it can be elusive.

    One thing that I have found helpful when using a search engine, such as google, is to refer to the "related search terms" at the bottom of the page. Sometimes this sends me in a more productive direction.

    Evaluating the information can be a minefield. Some sources which appear to be legitimate are in fact not. Recently, several very well-educated, well-read friends sent me the e mail that was going around about the day on which Mars would appear to be as big as the moon. Just because it's in print, doesn't make it true!

    3. For students, the most difficult aspect of Informational Literacy is accurate evaluation of information that they have found. My younger daughter provides a good example of this. When she was in high school, she was totally adept at navigating the internet. Despite my frequent suggestions that she "look it up in the encyclopedia", she relied on the internet almost completely for information resources. Many times, she went on to cite information that came from unreliable and even disreputable resources without questioning its validity. It's a good thing she let me proofread her papers!

    This underscores the point made by Paulo Freire and others that critical literacy is a vital component of education. It isn't sufficient to be able to access the information or to be able to regurgitate it. The ability to question information and its sources is important not just in order for students to survive in the future, but for the very survival of our democratic society.

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  8. 1. I am fairly comfortable in my ability to navigate online for research purposes. Prior to college, I had very little knowledge on how to conduct research. I still struggle with finding the most credible sources but with the help of online library resources at USD I have found more effective ways to conduct research and find information that is more specific to the topic I am researching.

    2. I am successful in locating information but I have a difficult time sorting through it to find what is most revelant to what I am researching. Also, I have a hard time weeding through the information that I find and evaluating its credibility. I have learned not to take everything in print as fact since anyone can post to the internet. I do a decent job of seeing when supporting evidence needs to be provided its just a matter of which information will best support my findings/research that I have a difficult time doing.

    3. As a former teacher, I think that recognizing when information is needed is the most difficult for students. I have seen many times where students turn in research papers with a lot of great information, but there is little to no supporting evidence to back up claims. It is so important to provide credible sources for the information you are citing. From my own experience as a teacher, I have witnessed that students struggle with providing sufficient evidence to support their claims. I think it may be difficult for them because they are not aware of the power that providing sources does. I've had a student say, " Well I put the facts in there so I didn't think I had to say where I got them. Facts are facts." It is my hope that students learn the importance of supporting their statements by providing evidence.

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  9. 1. I am pretty comfortable navigating online resources for research, but I do encounter problems when it comes to deciding which information to use and which information is irrelevant. I have been using online resources for research since middle school, so I have had about ten years of experience doing this. However, only recently have I been taught how to use credible resources to conduct my research. With all the new technology and research bases that are available, it has become harder to locate the resources that are the most helpful in obtaining the information.

    2.(a) I think that I am successful when it comes to recognizing when information is needed. When we are assigned a research project, I usually create an outline of all the points that I want to address in my project so I know what type of information I am looking for and where to find it. I am not a very organized person, so this process helps me keep track of what information I need in order to conduct my research.
    (b) I have the ability to locate information, but I always encounter one of the problems mentioned in Mike Eisenberg’s presentation, information overload. I usually use google when I want to conduct a research, but I have recently started using the resources that are available through the university library system. The research databases that are available contain scholarly articles that are more helpful and credible than the websites that I find using google.
    (c) I usually struggle when I try to evaluate the information that I find. I have a hard time deciding which information to use and how to apply that information to my research. I have become better at distinguishing between information that is provided by credible sources and information that is written by a source that cannot be verified. The biggest challenge that I have is recognizing which information is useful and relevant, and which information does not pertain to the research in question.
    (d) I am confident in my abilities in effectively using the information that I find. The only problem that I encounter is citing the information because there are many different ways to cite it and each professor has their own preferences for what is acceptable. Also, the rules for citing keep changing and it is hard to keep up with all the new rules. I usually use websites that help me generate the citations instead of doing it the same way I have been doing it since I was young because I am never sure if I am doing it the right way.

    3.(a) I think that many students have trouble recognizing when information is needed unless a teacher provides them with specific points that need to be researched. In this area, I think that students need structure in order to successfully conduct their research.
    (b) Younger students have a harder time locating information because they don’t know about the different resources that are available to them. They need to be told where to look for information because if they aren’t, they will waste their time looking in all of the wrong places and they will say that they haven’t found any information. When I was working with my second graders on their animal research projects, many of the students complained that they couldn’t find the information they were looking for. I had to sit with each student and show them that the information is available, they just need to look for it in the right place.
    (c) and (d) I think that these two parts of the research process are the most difficult for students because they are unsure of which information to include and which to leave out. Sometimes they include information that has nothing to do with their research, but they don’t realize it. They also tend to use information that they found on websites that is not written by a credible source. They need to be taught at a young age how to use the information that they find to create a research project that is relevant and fact-based.

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  10. 1. As a new graduate student, I don’t feel well equipped to traverse online resources to conduct research. I can barely remember doing research as an undergraduate, though I know I did, and I have no recollection of which online or library-based (or other) resources I used. And being six years ago, times have changed. My first problem would be locating reliable sources to engage with, then I would have to sort through a daunting amount of it, with tools I’m not sure I have, and lastly I would have to decide how much and where I would use it.

    2. Seeing as though I just started school, there haven’t been many (or any?) assignments to research, but I’ll try my best to answer. I may have trouble recognizing when and where information is needed. As of right now, I am not confident about how I would go about locating information, well, “legal”, relevant, and reliable information. I would hope I would be better at evaluating the information. I would be worried about effectively using it, especially how much of it to use, how exactly to use it to augment or back-up my argument, and correctly citing the information.

    3. In my opinion, I think students have the most difficulty with using the information they find. I have some degree of confidence in students eventually locating a few good sources and their ability to adequately sort through them, but applying the information to their research is perhaps more difficult and requires more time, energy, sensitivity, and critical thinking than a lot of students are willing to put forth. Students must sort through the research of multiple sources, each with its own context and slant and conclusions, extract what’s relevant to her project, and insert the content to shape or highlight her arguments, while being careful to maintain her voice and not plagiarize.

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  11. 1. As a grad student I feel that I am able to use the Internet to find the information I need for research. However, I interpret this to mean that it is valid to research online on USD's library database. As a Spanish major here at USD, I had to do many research papers and frequently used the JSTOR database. Most of my professors also had a library orientation day in which we were shown how to narrow our searches in the databases. Since I have been out of school for two years, I am a little rusty. It might take me a little longer to get use to the databases, but I am confident I can navigate through them. However, I am not very confident in my abilities to conduct research online. Without the USD database as a starting point I would be completely lost. I would probably just start by doing a search in google, but I am afraid that I would not be getting scholarly appropriate research.

    2. I am able to recognize when I need to find information. The part of online research that I have the most difficulty with would be locating scholarly appropriate research. I am not aware or familiar with websites that are appropriate. I agree with the youtube video, in that this is my greatest frustration. I can recall many times during my undergrad in which I had to research an author and would wind up with information from different sources that was different. It was hard for me to determine which information was accurate as well. I think that at times I also struggle in how to evaluate the information I find. When I have overcome the challenge of finding the research, then I am not sure how much of it to include in my papers, projects or presentations. I want my research to be well done, but at the same time I do not want it to lack my voice.

    3. I think that in my experience with middle school students the hardest part in doing research was finding the information. I had my students do one project in which I took them to the school library to give them time to research. The project was based on a spanish speaking country. When we first got to the library I remember the students all went to the computers to use Wikipedia. Most of their research was based on one article from Wikipedia. I had to encourage students to use academic journals and try other search engines. However, with my lack of knowledge in researching online, I am sure that the projects did not have as much research as I had hoped. Therefore, the gathering of information for my students was difficult because I was not well prepared in helping them conduct the research.

    I also feel that my students did not know how to evaluate all the information. Some students gave information that was not very relevant to the topic. They found it hard to focus on the research topic.

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  12. Hi everyone! So my response wound up not fitting in just one post. Here are Questions 1 and 2. I'll post my response to Question 3 just below this one.

    1. Similarly to Aimee, I believe that my ease at navigating online resources for the purpose of research is impacted with my overall ease of using the Internet. This is a product of my generation and the digital age in which I have grown up. As both a graduate and undergraduate student of education, I have become familiar with using databases such as ERIC and PSYCHInfo over the past few years and can navigate and select items from these databases with relative ease. I have become increasingly familiar with reputable journals in my field of interest, so worries about the credibility of a source are sometimes alleviated when I know the article or study comes from a peer-reviewed journal. That being said, there are times when I do struggle to find the article or study that is “just right” for my research purpose. Like is expressed in the Youtube.com video on Frustrations that we watched for this week, I too have “settled” on a source that isn’t quite perfect. As humans we are continually improving any practice of which we are a part, and as teachers we are committing ourselves to being lifelong learners. Because of this, I think it is important to be involved in ever-refining any skill we possess, including informational literacy and our own online research skills.

    2. In conducting my own online research for assignments, one area in which I experience struggles is (a) recognizing when information is needed. As a student of education for the last 5+ years, I have gained a wealth of information regarding theories behind human development and educational practice. Sometimes, these ideas and theories become so much a part of my daily life and jargon that I forget the importance of going “back to the source” and citing those researchers who presented these original ideas in their work. At times, I struggle with what to cite. I think that this is a problem that many students experience who are new to research and writing scholarly work. Questions of, “Well, does that mean I need to cite EVERYTHING to back up each statement I make?” do cross my mind from time to time. I have struck what I feel is a balance in this area of research and paper-writing, but do revisit my insecurities from time to time depending on the topic I am studying.

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  13. Continued...

    3. Almost all of my teaching experience has been with students in the math classroom, a place where traditional online research seldom occurs. In the math classroom, information literacy takes a somewhat different form and perhaps a back seat to the notions of digital and critical literacies. However, the most commonly-heard complaint I hear students express when it comes to information literacy and conducting research is with respect to (c) evaluating information. I feel as if students today assume that everything presented to them on the Internet is fact. Because of the wonderful tool that the Internet provides and how accessible information is to find, students do not have the experience of questioning the information they find on the Internet. When this idea is introduced later down the line, it is met with rebuttals like, “What do you MEAN Google doesn’t give me answers that are always 100% credible and peer-reviewed?” Addressing this challenge will be one of the most important objectives for teachers as we continue to progress through the 21st century. Students must change the role they play in research and informational literacy. They must not act only in the role of consumers of all the information out there, but as USERS of this information who can powerfully interact with and examine the sources that they find to determine their credibility. This will require a great shift in perspective on the part of the student. However, as Eisenberg discusses in his presentation on “Information Literacy: The Most Basic of Basics!” the solution to this is not to preselect information for students to use for their research purposes, but to teach them how to be critical and capable users of research. Doing so makes them lifelong learners and information users – and isn’t this arguably the whole point of education?

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  14. 1 As a gradate student, i am pretty comfortable with the online resources for the purpose of research. I am unsure of how can we find the information we need effectively. Since i am from China, so the university system is totally different from U.S.,i can always find the information i need online for free.
    I always "google" or find other articles from the the academic website as resources. Recently, i found out that some magazines that contained the information i need online are priced very high. Therefore,if I want read them, i have to pay for the part that i am interesed for my research with whole price. In China, I was so used to look for resource for free,or you pay for a the whole resource per year in one website. This is my problem.(no wonder Chinese scholars are very poor). Thus i am wondering a good way to solve this problem.


    2 I like to say these four steps are required by all the graduate students. I am not successful with any of them except recognizing when information is needed. Compare with recongnizing when the information is needed, i like to say that finding the information is relevant to my research is more difficult. Although i recognize that information is i need, but it is related to the paper? otherwise i am wasting my time. I need to make a system that could havce this four steps and set in my brain.

    3
    According to my previous experience, except first one, they are all difficulty for me. The ability to locate information is the hardest one, because I have to read more before i find the information i need. Evaluating information is the main key to prove our essay. It is hard because I have to talk about my idea of my essay with my professor or my partner. I know it is important because it is for the process of preparing the paper.

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  15. 1. I feel somewhat comfortable with navigating online resources for the purpose of research. However, I often find that there is either too much information and I don't know what is best, or then there is not enough.

    2. I can recognize when information is needed; but, have some challenges with evaluating and effectively using the information. Research papers at the graduate level are much different. As a graduate student, you are more focused on evaluating the research, rather than regurgitating information--like high school research reports. There was no real transition or guidelines on how to evaluate information. The other thing I have found challenging, is how to locate exactly what you are looking for--in a database. I feel like I have relied too heavily on just searching google and having 1000 different articles pop up. I feel comfortable with that type of search. It is searching a database that I find more difficult. Many times I have to try using different combinations of words to try and find something related to what I am researching.

    3.I think from my experience, the most difficult part of the research process is evaluating information. There are so many sources and sites that it is difficult to sort through and know which ones are the most reliable.

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  16. 1. As a grad student, I am alright at searching for information in general. Being an English major, I feel that I should be much better at this, but in my defense, besides those quickie tutorials that the librarians give in your first year in a program, none of my classes have ever really addressed searching the Internet for info. Everyone makes it look easy, but I feel like it’s not. I always end up resorting to some questionable website that pops up on google or looking through chat forums in order to get ideas of what to search. Academic Journals that we have access to as University students have been really helpful, but our students don’t have that luxury. It’s like we just expect people to know how to search and find relevant information – either that or we don’t want to teach it because it’s dry and tedious. I find that my biggest struggle comes in understanding what phrases or tools to utilize within the search bar in order to find what I need.
    2. My biggest challenge for research is locating useful information. I cannot tell you how many hundreds of useless articles I have skimmed through in order to find one or two good ones. It is extremely frustrating and time consuming. Also, what’s interesting to me is that when I use a library (which intimidates me), I find more relevant articles in less time than using the Internet. Once I have the information, I can sort through it and organize it effectively, but getting accurate and useful knowledge is my challenge. It’s like I tell my students: writing is like putting together a giant puzzle. You have to sort through hundreds of pieces and organize them into groups before you can start putting it together.
    3. I think that students seem to struggle the most with organizing the information that they find. They can seem to find fairly decent sources with their limited resources, but they struggle to be able to differentiate between what is important and what is not. It takes a lot of graphic organizers and practice just to get them focused, much less getting them to select only important facts AND organize them effectively. Plus, if something goes awry during their process, it is almost impossible for them to alter their organization and maintain focus. My English classes have just finished their first expository essay for me, and it is definitely interesting to observe the challenges they face.

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  17. 1. I would say that I am somewhat comfortable, with the sources that I am aware of, navigating online resources for the purpose of research. The problem that I run into is that I am not aware of very many online resources. For the most part, I use Google for online research and then sort through the sites that are relevant and reliable to my topic. Therefore, I usually resort to using books, magazines, and other tangible resource materials instead of those online. I have heard that there are great resources online, now I just need to find them!

    2. I believe that I am successful in evaluating and effectively using information found online. When using online sources I try my best to make sure that the website is accreted, and make sure that it contains factual information. I find websites that enhance and supplement my research. As I mentioned earlier, it is challenging for me to locate information. I am familiar with the usual search engines, but lack knowledge on other helpful websites/ online resources. I hope to learn about other powerful online tools that can enhance my (and my students’) research in the future!


    3. From my personal experience, it is difficult for students to locate information. I think that even after students find useful online resources; picking out the important information is a big challenge. In my classroom last year, every student did a non-fiction animal report using online resources and textbooks. The students were given specific books and websites that were grade/reading level appropriate. It was extremely difficult for them to locate and extract information from both sources.

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