Research Hints: – The Basics

Information Literacy:

The six stages of Research

This circle can help you to complete effective research and produce your best work.

Start with the planning circle, think about the questions inside it and then move onto the next stage.

You can repeat this process several times before you complete your work.

 

 

Year 7 Information Literacy Programme: Bibliographies

Bibliographies

(not to be confused with Biographies!)

 

We touched very briefly on Bibliographies when we were evaluating books  – did they have one or something similar for example “Further Reading” usually at the back of the book near the index?

 

What does Bibliographies mean?

A few suggest that it is something to do with the Bible and we chat about word origins – Biblio being latin for book.

 

Moving on I share some videos about Plagiarism from Plato online, and emphasise that copying, and copying and pasting is cheating.

 

Students are amazed that this is the case. “But surely the people who put things on the internet know they are going to be copied?” said one innocent student. I pointed out that this wasn’t the case and gave “creative commons” as one example where the author or creator can give usage rights away depending upon use.

 

They continue to be amazed when they hear that TDA students have been ‘kicked off’ courses because of this plagiarism or cheating.

 

“But what happens if it’s a really good idea?”

 

Then you can use it IF you say where you found it! – put it into quotes and list the book; website; article in your……

 

wait for it…..

 

 

bibliography!

 

I demonstrate the order

 

Author, Date, Title, Place & Publisher

 

and where to find that information before setting them a challenge to create a mini bibliography on a topic of their choice.

 

Football, cricket and make-up are popular choices, but ghosts, athletics, and scouting are examples of some of the rarer topics chosen.

So a quick reminder about using the subject indexes and then we’re off to the MRC to find books to include in our bibliographies.

 

Year 7 Information Literacy Programme: Evaluating Resources

Evaluating Resources

 

In this session I ask my year 7 students to think about how and why they pick one resource over another.

We ‘brainstorm’ the 5 W’s before using them to evaluate a book.

 

The 5 W’s are, of course,

Who

What

When

Where

and

Why

 

How we can use these to evaluate resources….

 

Who?

Who is the author? Why would we look for a particular author?

 

Perhaps we have a favourite author, or we know they are an expert in that subject. Or perhaps they are a Dr or a professor – this may mean we are more able to trust what they write.

 

 

 

 

What?

What is a really easy one to work out. What is the book/resource about?

 

If we need to research Insects then knowing what the book about is probably the easiest way to evaluate a resource. If the book/resource is about fishing or aliens, or the Third Reich then we can quickly eliminate them. We probably do this without thinking about it.

 

 

 

When?

When refers to when the book/resource was published.

 

Is the book old? Does it matter? How up-to-date is it?

The date a book was published is usually found on the back of the Title Page near the copyright symbol.

 

Just because a book is ‘old’ doesn’t mean it isn’t useful. However if you want to know about the new species of butterfly; or a newly discovered egyptian tomb, then an old book won’t cover that.

 

 

Where?

 

Where can we find the answers in the book? Does the book have a contents page or an index? Most good books do – but have a look at a series like the Horrible Histories Series, these contain lots of interesting information; presented in a fun way, but if you are looking for a particular keyword you have to scan the whole book as they don’t have an index.

 

Another useful thing to look for is a Bibliography; or ‘Further Reading’; or ‘More resources’ etc. These can be found at the back of the book – near the index and can provide us with more useful resources – or where to go next.

 

 

Why?

 

Why should we use a particular book over another?

Does it have pictures? Are these drawings (and subject to an artistic impression) or photographs (more realistic)? On the other hand drawings and diagrams may be more clearly labelled. It’s all about the reason why we are looking for them in the first place.

 

Another ‘why’ would be what I call the ‘Goldilocks’ question. This relates to the size of the text – is it too big? Too small? Or just right?

It is the Goldilocks question because we each need to find the best fit for ourselves. Perhaps the writing is too big, with not enough information or detail perhaps  too ‘babyish’ or easy? Perhaps the writing is so small that we cannot read it – if so – there is no point struggling – we need to find something better and more suited to our needs.

 

 

So evaluating resources is about thinking about why we are looking for; why we need that information and finding the best resource to help us.

 

Who, What, When, Where and Why are easy questions that can help us find the best resource.