Presentation on theme: "Teaching the Ten Steps to Better Web Research By Mark E. Moran & Shannon A. Firth Dulcinea Media."— Presentation transcript:
Teaching the Ten Steps to Better Web Research By Mark E. Moran & Shannon A. Firth Dulcinea Media
Links to studies & articles discussed are at the end of this presentation and at The PowerPoint version may be found at
Dulcinea Media provides free content & tools that help educators teach students how to use the Internet effectively. More about us and our products: Check out SweetSearch, A Search Engine for Students Sign-up for our free daily newsletter: Follow us &
“It is very likely that our students’ brains have physically changed– and are different from ours – as a result of how they grew up.” 1 -- Marc Prensky
So, are “digital natives” experts at searching the Web?
After a year long information literacy program, most fifth grade students continued to rely entirely on Google and “never questioned the reliability of the websites they accessed.” 2 -- Vrije University Netherlands
Even when high school students found a good source they did not recognize it and instead launched a new search. A high level of browsing is carried on at the expense of thinking and planning Shu Hsien L. Chen
“Electronic media can “overwhelm youth with information that they may not have the skills or experience to evaluate.” And literacy skills overlap with safety skills Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, March 2010
Students without access to librarians teaching Web research skills show up at college “beyond hope”….”they have learned to ‘get by’ with Google.” 5 -- University College London
Not one of the 600 college students surveyed "could give an adequate conceptual definition of how Google returns results….the word ‘magic’ came up a lot.” 6 --ERIAL study (Illinois )
In 2010 Dulcinea Media Surveyed 300 middle school and high school students in New York. In 2010 Dulcinea Media Surveyed 300 middle school and high school students in New York.
How do you begin your search? Almost half of middle school students chose “I type a question.”
If a search doesn’t give you good results...
... what do you do next? I try another search engine. I try different keywords but if I still can't find an answer, I just think real hard for an answer. I focus on the encyclopedia.
I punch the screen. Just kidding, LOL. Just kidding, LOL.
How do you decide if an online article is a good source to use for a school report?
It’s a good source…. if it has the information I need then it’s good for me. if it sounds good, I know it’s right, and it has good vocab.
Actual Answer: “I don’t know. I just go with it.”
How often do you check the author of an article?
About 2/3 of students “rarely or never” check the author.
“It doesn’t really matter who wrote it.”..”
How often do you check to see when an article was written or last updated?
Half of high school students and about 3/4 of middle school students say they “rarely or never” check the date of an article.
I can’t find it.
In Conclusion…. A majority of students: don’t know how to form a sound search query; don’t have a strategy for dealing with poor results; can’t articulate how they know content is credible; don’t check the author or date of an article.
In other words...
Improving Internet skills starts with educators
“Students see educators modeling an effective research process and learn from it.” -Colette Cassinelli librarian/ technology teacher Portland, OR
“Librarians must be able to retool and stay ahead of teachers and students.” -Joyce Valenza media specialist Springfield Township, PA
Recognizing reliable sources + consider infinite options + Understanding intellectual property rights + Engaging modern audiences with conclusions = EFFECTIVE USE OF THE WEB
Models & Resources for Web Research Review the Big6 model. 7 Share the Ergo search model with students. 8 Teach Ten Steps for Better Web Research.
How Do Effective Researchers Behave? Start general with several keywords Try new combinations in a systemic manner Use more precise, or even natural language. 9 Look well beyond the first few results, and return often to favorite, reliable sites.
No Quick Fix Effective web research skills cannot be learned in a week, a semester, or a year. They must be taught year-round, throughout primary school years, and can be mastered only as students mature and gain experience.
A New Approach? Authors of ERIAL study: teach broad concepts and strategies, not use of specific tools.
"Unless we can demonstrate some measurable payoff to searching, students aren’t going to do it.” 6 - Lisa Rose-Wiles librarian Seton Hall University
“Use better interfaces and more sophisticated indexing methods to nudge students, incrementally, toward competence.” 6 - Casper Grathwohl Oxford University Press
Step 1: Where to Search The Internet may not be the best place to start; databases may help you find what you’re seeking far faster.
Step 1: Where to Search Don’t count on search engines to do all the work for you. Ask a librarian or teacher to recommend individual sites. Use student-friendly tools for aggregating your own favorite sites. e.g. Symbaloo or Diigo.SymbalooDiigo
Step 1: Where to Search Give students a list of 10 sites; include two poor sources. Students must defend their sources and point out weak links. - Michelle Baldwin Vocal Music Teacher Omaha, NE
Step 2: Try Several Search Engines Suggest a two-week “Google Holiday” to lessen dependency. Introduce meta-search engines (eg. Zuula).Zuula More about search engines :
Step 2: Try Several Search Engines….. SweetSearch searches 35,000 websites that research experts have evaluated and approved.SweetSearch SweetSearch4Me features sites for emerging learners.SweetSearch4Me We created these, yet don’t use them exclusively– we use the full range of resources.
Step 3: Dig deep for the best results Many websites rank high for reasons unrelated to the quality of their content. Professionals and academics don’t practice Search Engine Optimization. Don’t stop at the first page!!
Step 3: Dig deep…. Google and other search engines optimize their results for adults, who want to know “what happened today.” Google recently promised to deliver “50% fresher” results. For school research, “fresher” is not usually better.
Step 3: Dig deep…. With Yolink users can browse search results in context without opening them. ALL educators and students should use it.Yolink Integrated into SweetSearch, Yolink can be used on other sites through a browser add-on. SweetSearch = “better indexing,” Yolink = “better interface” suggested by Oxford University Press.
Step 4: Think Before You Search “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll probably end up somewhere else.” - Yogi Berra
Define your task. Have students rewrite assignments in their own words. - Angela Maiers education consultant Maiers Education Services Step 4: Think Before You Search
Step 5: Make Search Engines Work for You Connectors AND and OR can be moderately effective. Quotation marks are a critical tool students should know when to use. But advanced search options are the best way to mandate or exclude certain words.
Step 5: Make Search Engines Work for You Learn the AROUND function. Search “Kennedy" AROUND(10) “moon” and the top results will be ones in which Kennedy appears within ten words of moon. NOTE: both search terms must be in quotes, AROUND must be capitalized, and the number must be in parentheses.
Step 5: Make Search Engines Work for You As you search, add new keywords. Avoid “looping” by documenting your search with a bookmarking tool, or keep a written record.
Step 6: Don’t Believe Everything You Read Students should think like a detective. A dose of healthy skepticism is required. Information is only as good as its source. No single element determines credibility. ALWAYS verify critical information with several sources.
Step 7: Find Primary Sources Think of primary sources such as photos, diaries and newspapers as “eyewitness accounts” – which are generally more reliable than second-hand information. More:
Step 7: Looking at the Original Source? If you suspect a site may not be the original source of information, google a key phrase. If the phrase appears on another site, evaluate the credibility of that site. More:
Step 8: Who Published the Article? Do editors or experts review the information? Is it thorough? Do the author and publisher have a well- established reputation? Search their names in a search engine.
Step 8: Who Published the Article? If the site does not provide the name of the publisher and its editors you cannot rely on it. Even if it “looks good or sounds good.”
Step 8: Who Published the Article? See 10 Reasons Why Students Can’t Cite Wikipedia. More:
Step 8: Who Published the Article? Assessing the top level domain (.com..gov,.org,.edu) is not as useful as commonly believed. Be wary of sites containing words like "free/discount/best/your/Web.” Be critical of sites where advertisements blend with content.
Step 9: Why Was the Article Written? Always ask, “why did the writer write this?” Is the site trying to sell you something? Does the site have any social or political biases? Eg. WhiteHouse.gov is not a neutral source for information on U.S. Presidents.
Step 9: Why Was the Article Written? Many websites that appear to offer valid information but were created for another purpose. More:
Step 10: When was information written or last revised? Determine when an article was published or last updated. If you can’t, then confirm the currency of the information elsewhere. Use a news search engine, add the current year as a search term, or Advanced Search Options to restrict dates (imperfect). More:
The End? Yes, but it’s only the beginning of our efforts to help educators teach students how to use the Web effectively. We will offer versions of the Ten Steps for emerging learners, and lesson plans and videos. Sign-up for our newsletter to be kept updated on our progress.
Works Cited: 1.Prensky, Marc. “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants” : On the Horizon. NCB University Press, Vol. 9 No. 5, October Els Kuiper, Monique Volman and Jan Terwel. “Students' use of Web literacy skills and strategies: searching, reading and evaluating Web information.” Information Research: Vol. 13, No.3, (September, 2008.http://www.informationr.net/ir/13-3/paper351.htmlhttp://www.informationr.net/ir/13-3/paper351.html 3. Shu-Hsien L. Chen. “Searching the Online Catalog and the World Wide Web.” Journal of Educational Media & Library Sciences, 41 1 (September 2003) On “Empowering Parents and Protecting Children in an Evolving Media landscape” Berkman Center for Internet & Society. February 24, UCL. “Information behavior of the researcher of the future”: 11 January Steve Kolowich, Searching for Better Research Habits, Inside Higher Ed, September 29, (cont’d)
Works Cited: 7. Eisenberg, Mike. “What is the Big 6.” The Big 6: Information & Technology Skills for Student Achievement, (1997) 8. “Research Skills.” State Library of Victoria. Ergo. (2010) 9. Media Post: Google Research Focuses on Search Failures, September 21, Kasman Valenza, Joyce. “PowerSearching 501”: Springfield Township High School Library