Assignment

Identify and Find Scholarly Sources

Submitted by Lindsey McLean on January 5th, 2016
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Short Description: 

In this sequence of activities, students will learn how to identify scholarly sources using three pronged test: 1) Is the source written by a researcher or academic 2) Is the source published in a scholarly book or peer reviewed journal, and 3) Does the source have an extensive bibliography. They will then be asked to find one scholarly book and one scholarly article on a general topic.

Learning Activities

Scholarly source pre-test

  • Description of activity: Students will complete a three-five question true/false pretest. Each question will present the student with a source and ask them if the source is scholarly (true/false).
  • Learning goal: Students will understand what they do and do not know about identifying scholarly sources. The pretest also works as an assessment strategy as well as a strategy for retention of the material.

Short lecture/discussion

  • Description of activity: Instructor will lead students in a discussion about the elements that all scholarly sources have. This will lead to the list of the three-pronged test: 1) Is the source written by a researcher or academic 2) Is the source published in a scholarly book or peer reviewed journal, and 3) Does the source have an extensive bibliography. The instructor is leading the discussion should be creating a list on the board. This discussion should also include a specific mention that credible sources and academic sources are not always the same. A source can be credible without being scholarly and scholarly sources have been known to be not credible.
  • Learning goal: Students will be able to apply the three pronged test to decide is a source is scholarly or not.
  • Assessment: At the end of the discussion the Instructor will present students with a blog written by an academic that discusses a research project they worked on and includes a short list of cited reference at the end. The instructor will ask the class to vote on whether or not it is a scholarly source.

Find two scholarly sources

  • Description of activity: Instructor will present students with a general topic (e.g. student debt) and ask them to find one scholarly book or book chapter and one scholarly article on the topic using whatever search tool they want (this can be done in pairs or groups of three). When they have found the sources, they will complete a Google form similar to this: http://libguides.lmu.edu/RHET1000/task (including asking what they used to find the sources – Google, Discovery layer, etc.). When the students are finished, the Instructor will project the results of the Google form and look at the search tools used by the students. If the students are overwhelming using Google or JSTOR, the instructor will discuss more useful places to find sources. Then the Instructor will randomly select some of the books and article the students found and ask they group how they identified them as scholarly.
  • Learning goal: Students will be able to find scholarly books and articles.
  • Assessment: At the end of the semester, librarian will collect final papers and assess the student bibliographies looking for evidence of scholarly sources. 
Attachments: 
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Learning Outcomes: 
  1. Students will be able to identify scholarly sources.
  2. Students will be able to find scholarly books and scholarly articles. 

Individual or Group:

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

This assignment was designed to function as a librarian led workshop that is offerend in conjuction with a research assignment. Idealy, this type of workshop would take place at a strategic time in the course; perhaps around two weeks before an annotated bibliography or first draft is due. 

Suggested Citation: 
McLean, Lindsey. "Identify and Find Scholarly Sources." CORA (Community of Online Research Assignments), 2016. https://www.projectcora.org/assignment/identify-and-find-scholarly-sources.