It’s not just the kids who need a lesson (or many) in validating online resources – I couldn’t believe my colleague today. While Wikipedia is often my go-to reference in conversation, I had to remind my colleague that using it on academic papers, or in her case, as the basis for several pilot projects being implemented at our school, was not the most effective way to demonstrate her understanding or gain respect from her professional peers. She looked at me in dismay, wondering how she had been citing Wikipedia all along in her administrative credential program without a single professor calling her out. Give Me Some Truth blogger and fellow SJSU library student Pamela Van Halsema reminds us to set the bar higher not just for our students, but for the teaching staff too. Patience is what they need, she says, to weed through bad Google results earnestly seeking something of quality – I say we could all use a little patience. And one way to influence our students is by setting the example – model diligence. Revise your search terms. Don’t be afraid to check the second page of Google results. But, I fear professional development may be needed for my colleagues to be able to do this with confidence. That’s another job for the TL….
“I wish I could teach a simple formula or give a quick checklist that could provide foolproof verification of a trustworthy source.”
But that’s just it..research is a frame of mind; it demands patience, persistence, and the belief in the quest. Guidance and tools help, but there has to exist the understanding that not all sources are created equal and there are serious risks and consequences when we gather information that has gone unchecked.