Information Literacy: The Perils of Online Research


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In a world of information overload, information literacy has become a survival skill. But what exactly does information literacy mean? With a focus on the Internet, this video explains how to conduct solid online research by collecting information in an organized, efficient, and ethical way.

Professor Maurita Holland of the University of Michigan School of Information provides expert commentary and guidance on a range of research activities, including evaluating the credibility of Web content, documenting online sources, and paraphrasing—not copying—the words of others. Additionally, a high school teacher and a graduate student demonstrate real-world examples to reinforce the challenges and rewards of online research. The consequences of plagiarism and shaky facts are emphasized.

Video Segments

1. Information Literacy Defined Being information literate means knowing how to retrieve information and being able to use that information effectively, legally, and ethically. This skill can help a person conduct school, workplace, or personal research.

2. Different Types of Literacy Computer literacy refers to technological know how. Library literacy refers to how to use the collections in the library. Information literacy goes beyond the first two. An information literate person knows how to find information in many situations.

3. Finding Internet Sources A student shares his Internet research process for a school report. Professor Holland advises writers to use the "A Writing Guide" within the Internet Public Library (IPL). Use for research on historical figures.

4. Determine Credibility of Internet Sources To determine credibility, a student should look in the "About Page" to see who posted the information, when it was posted, who the author is, and when it was last updated. Additionally, it should have unbiased information.

5. How to Document a Source To cite a source, a student should list the URL address, the author, the date posted, the date he/she accessed it, and the title.

6. Information Literacy: An All-Encompassing Research Process Information literacy refers to the research process of determining what the researcher needs, how to tackle the project, and what sources are needed. The researcher also must determine where to look for, evaluate, and document those sources.

7. Abusing the Internet: Plagiarizing Simply copying and pasting information from the Internet denies students the opportunity to really learn and absorb the material. Students must always cite their sources. A professor discusses the difference between plagiarism and paraphrasing.

8. Non-Credible Sources Make Research Reports Invalid Non-credible sources often have just one author, pop-ups, doctored photographs, and changes in font. Researchers should double-check the information, such as dates, with other sources. Non-credible sources also pose dangers for consumers.

9. Rewards of Information Literacy Information literacy empowers students. The rate of information will only increase in the future. Information literate students will be able to quickly find answers to their school, career, and personal questions.


Grade: 9-12

Information Literacy: The Perils of Online Research (DVD)
© 2006
Time: 21 Minutes

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