It is public speaking time at the OJCS, which means most grades are engaged in doing research for their speeches. The following is a lesson for our grade 7s and 8s (although it can be used across most grades) that explains how we determine if the sources we want to use for our research are credible. Going through numerous examples will help us understand who is publishing what kinds of content online and why.
So the key things we need to pay attention to when we are searching for information online:
- Just because something is online, it doesn’t mean that it’s true or reliable. Which means that when you are doing research for your public speaking and ANY OTHER PROJECT, that the websites you use for your research must be quality ones.
- Where, Who, What, When
- WHERE is the content published? What type of website are you finding this information on? This can determine what the angle or bias might be.
- What is the purpose of the website where I am finding this information?
- WHO – look for the author of the source you are reading from. Try to find out a bit about the author to ensure they are an expert.
- WHAT is the point of view of this site? Is this information balanced or biased?
- Always follow the RULE OF THREE – use three sources of information for whatever topic you are researching.
- WHEN was this information published online?
How can I find out if my author is an expert on the topic?
Let’s imagine that I am doing my project on the benefits of social media on mental health. Which type of experts would be the most knowledgeable on this topic? For each student that will depend on what your topic is. In my case, it would definitely be psychologists, social workers, and social scientists.
Let’s explore how I would go about determining the credibility of the following sources;
The first Google Link that comes up in my search is an article titled 13 Positive Effects of Social Media. What do we notice right away about this site and the author of this article? Are they psychology experts? What is the purpose of this site?
This is the second article that comes up. It is called 7 Positive Effects of Social Media. What can we learn about this site and this author?
Here is the third article listed Social Media Use Can Be Positive For Mental Health and Well-Being. Who published this? Is the author an expert?
Next one: Pros and Cons of Social Media.
And finally, this one is a .org, which means it is a non-profit organization. Does that mean it is always the best choice? Let’s find out a bit more about this by looking at the author of 5 Reasons You Don’t Need to Worry About Kids And Social Media. Now for public speaking purposes, maybe the opinion of a parent is perfectly fine. But were you doing this project for a social science research project, this author wouldn’t cut it.
Now let’s compare a few YouTube Links!
NOTE: it was REALLY challenging to find expert content on YouTube! I had to filter through many many videos.
You are going to spend the rest of the period finding three credible and reliable sources that you can use for your public speaking project. Make sure you copy and paste the links so you don’t lose them!