Exploring Source Formats & Purpose

Submitted by Elizabeth Salmon on August 13th, 2019
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Short Description: 

This lesson is intended to increase students’ awareness of content types and how various source types are created in order to 1) assist them in accurate citation practices and 2) help them to effectively select and evaluate sources using basic indicators such as purpose, audience, authorship, and additional factors that shape the creation of the source.

Learning Outcomes: 

Students will be able to …
1) evaluate sources using basic indicators e.g. authorship, publication type, purpose.
2) articulate the capabilities and constraints of information developed through various creation processes.
3) recognize that authoritative content may be packaged formally or informally and may include sources of all types.

Individual or Group:

Course Context (e.g. how it was implemented or integrated): 

In collaboration with writing instructors, librarians developed a series of activities for instructors to use in support of first-year student information literacy outcomes related to source evaluation. While course instructors facilitated this activity in their classrooms, librarians also used it in other first-year courses with a research focus. In librarian-facilitated classes, the librarian puts students in small groups to work together on one worksheet comparing a scholarly article to another source type.

Potential Pitfalls and Teaching Tips: 

Students will look up the sample publication sources to learn about them but may need encouragement to open the shortened URLs to compare the sample articles from the sources. It may also be helpful to show the debrief questions as students are working on their comparison worksheets so they have a deeper purpose when exploring and comparing the sources, lending to a richer class discussion.

Suggested Citation: 
Salmon, Elizabeth. "Exploring Source Formats & Purpose." CORA (Community of Online Research Assignments), 2019.