Published on March 9, 2014
What does it mean to be “information literate” for college? Presented by Mark Puterbaugh Information Services Librarian Eastern University Libraries St. Davids, PA 19087 firstname.lastname@example.org 610-341-1461 ? Lecture Deux
Now you have a basic idea of where you are going. Information literacy isn’t all that hard an idea to grasp. It’s logical!
So why is it different now that you are a college student? Why make a big deal over something you do all the time? You search for things on the Internet everyday. You follow a process that helps you find what you want.
College is somewhere different. It’s in a place called THE ACADEMIC WORLD.
Usually people talk a lot and give their opinions about this and that. No one really asks them to support what they say. There are all sorts of opinions given on the Internet about music stars, athletes, computers, politics and cat videos. No one really demands proof that one’s opinion is backed by THE EVIDENCE.
The Academic World is not like any other world. Unlike your home world where your friends and family live and accept your opinion at face value. For your opinion to matter in The Academic World it must be backed by THE EVIDENCE.
In The Academic World opinions do not stand alone. Opinions are built upon the work of others or upon facts that can be verified. So, when you write a paper for class your opinions must be verifiable, based on THE EVIDENCE of your research.
BTW always remember! When you write a paper, your professor wants to know what you have to say about a topic. But, since you are now living in The Academic World, your opinion must be based on the facts. YOUR OPINION DOES MATTER. Give a cheer. Your opinion matters!
So, you’re sitting in class. Minding your own business. Thinking deep thoughts. The professor, out of the blue, wants you to write a research paper. Uh. You’re sitting in an American History class. (Just thought you should know.) Professor provides a list of topics. You pick one. It’s “prohibition”? What will you do?
It’s not exactly what I was thinking. But, okay, you GOOGLE IT! Your Google search returns a trillion hits. Where do you start? A trillion hits and you only have 8 weeks to write the paper! Don’t despair. The Google search can help you.
Googling something can give you a lot of important information. There are links to government (.gov) sites and academic sites (.edu). Those look good. Wikipedia has several long articles. Interesting too. But, you’re not really sure who wrote them. The picture of the cat dancing on the whiskey barrel was too cute.
You can learn a lot from a Google search or a Wikipedia article. You can learn keywords, important names and dates. You can gather a lot of background information on a topic. But, is this information academic? Is it verifiable evidence? Can you trust the sources found in a Google search with your final grade? Probably not.
What was it your professor wanted you to use in your research paper? Didn’t she talk about using peer-reviewed sources? ?
RELAX. We’ve already talked about this earlier. To quote myself, “In the Academic World opinions do not stand alone.” “Opinions are built upon the work of others or upon facts that can be verified.” Peer-review is all about verifying the facts. It makes sure that an academic opinion is based upon THE EVIDENCE.
Here is how it works in The Academic World. PART 1 A scholar writes a paper. He’s developed an opinion about an important topic. He sends the paper to a journal read by other scholars. He wants his article published. The paper is read by the editor.
She thinks it’s a great article and wants to publish it. But, she’s an editor not a scholar. In order to verify her belief that the article is great, she asks other scholars (the author’s peers) in the same field review the article and tell her it’s a great article. Here is how it works in The Academic World. PART 2
The peers read the article and review THE EVIDENCE. The peers look at • The logic of the article • Footnotes • References • Other works on the same topic Here is how it works in The Academic World. PART 3
The peers pass judgment as to whether the article is fit for The ACADEMIC WORLD.
If it is deemed fit the article is published. Everyone is happy!
So, that’s what your professor wants. Resources that have gone through the peer- reviewed process. No problem! RIGHT?
Where would you find peer- reviewed articles? That’s a good question. ?
STOP THAT BEFORE YOU EVEN START! NO!
You’ll find “peer-reviewed” information in “peer-reviewed” journals. You’re in college so it’s easy. The “peer-reviewed” journals are found in the library or through a subscription database on the library’s website. That works well for you.
What’s Next? ?
You’ve gone through the preliminaries about what type of information you need for academic work. You’ve had some practice researching And finding what you need. Now we begin to do some research for The Academic World. We will journey deeper into information literacy for the college student. Bye!
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