Information Literacy: Curation and Evaluation
Updated: May 8
Our students have access to an overwhelming amount of information, but not all of it is trustworthy or relevant to their information needs. As a result, it's essential to develop students' information literacy skills to evaluate and curate information. Below are examples of resources I have created over the years to support students' thinking about information evaluation, smart searching strategies (Boolean operators), and the six stages of information curation.
The first resource is a video I created using Adobe Premier Pro and After Effects. I then imported this into the video editing platform WireWax to add interactive features and gamify the curation lesson.
The SCRAP test provides prompting questions to consider when evaluating sources of information. While many acronyms have been proposed as assisting information seekers in evaluating sources, it is important to select a set of skills that encourage students to first tap into their cognitive bias. This level of metacognitive thinking take students beyond a simple check-list of what used to be considered good evaluation practice but is now outdated and often times unhelpful (e.g. evaluating the site's domain). I also use Caulfield's (2017) SIFT regularly.
Boolean operators can broaden and/or narrow your search results. These are useful strategies to teach students alongside key word searching and site searching (often referred to as domain searching). To emphasise the usefulness of search strategies such as this, I have students compare the results they get when:
1. using the exact words from the question,
2. using a key word search,
3. using a Boolean search,
4. using a site search.
Students see very quickly how they can narrow and broaden their search results by incorporating a range of operators and limiters.
The six stages of curation can be organised into three key behaviours; search, store, share. Providing students with explicit instruction on curation strategies is vital, as they do not inherently possess the digital organisational skills needed to keep track of their research. An emphasis on collaborative curation can also greatly enhance the quality of students' information seeking. When students collaborate at the pre-focus exploration and information collection stages, they can combine their unique perspectives and expertise to create a more comprehensive and diverse curation of sources. By working together, students can share their knowledge and perspectives, challenge each other's assumptions, and synthesise their findings to generate new insights and ideas. Additionally, collaboration can help individuals cope with the uncertainty and ambiguity that often accompanies the information seeking process, as students can provide emotional and cognitive support to one another.