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Digital Literacy: Learning How to Search and Evaluate Information


Published on

Presentation given on April 12th, 2013

Published in: Education, Technology, Design

Digital Literacy: Learning How to Search and Evaluate Information

  1. EMSB Leading & Learning in the 21st Century Conference April 12th, 2013 Digital Literacy:Learning How to Search and Evaluate Information Rafael Scapin, Ph.D. Coordinator of Educational Technology Dawson College
  2. ContentDigital Literacy is the ability to effectivelyand critically navigate, evaluate and createinformation using a range of digitaltechnologies.This practical 2-hour workshop will presenttechniques on how to effectively search,gather and evaluate online information.
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  6. InfoWhelmSource:
  7. Survey Go to:
  8. SurveyGoogle: 19627Bing: 19630Yahoo! 19676Other: 83342
  9. There is also Bing! Source:
  10. Bing vs GoogleSource:
  11. Digital LiteracySource:
  12. Locating InformationLocating Information EfficientlyWhat Information Am I Looking For?Where Will I Find the Information?How Will I Get There? Source:
  13. Searching on the Web
  14. Google Search by Language Source:
  15. How Google Search Works Source:
  16. How Google Search WorksSource:
  17. Searching on the WebInfotopia: Student-Friendly Search Engine Source:
  18. Google Search: TricksSource:
  19. Google Search: Tricks Source: Source:
  20. Searching Strategies Identify KeywordsIgnore the “small” words (what, are, the, etc.), wordsconnected to time (sometimes, always, perhaps, often, etc.)and words that show relation (effects, lead to, increases,etc.)Example:What are the effects of media on bullying among children? Main concepts Source:
  21. Searching Strategies Now find some synonymsDifferent authors will use different words to write abouttheir topics. Source:
  22. Searching Strategies Fill in a Keyword ChartSource:
  23. Searching Strategies Combine Keywords (or, and not)OR combines your synonyms and related terms to finddocuments that contain any or all of the words. It broadensyour search and produces more results. Example: Car OR vehicle
  24. Searching Strategies Combine Keywords (or, and not)AND combines your different concepts to find only thedocuments that contain all of the keywords. It narrowsyour search and produces fewer results. Example: Car AND fuel
  25. Searching Strategies Combine Keywords (or, and not)NOT followed by a keyword will exclude all thedocuments that contain that particular word. It is away of avoiding unrelated articles. Use it with cautionas you may miss out on potentially useful material.Example: Drugs NOT heroin
  26. Example of Keyword ChartSource:
  27. More Tips Truncation (*, ?)Truncation will find all the variants of a word.For example child* will find child, children, andchildhood.This saves you time. If your research is looking at howpoverty affects children, the search statement wouldbe: poverty AND child*Always check the help page of the database to knowthe correct symbol to use.
  28. More Tips GroupingGrouping will create a more focused search. Quotations “ ”Quotations allow you to search for an exactphrase. The search will only bring back resultsthat contain that phrase.Example:street kids 1,025,026 results“street kids” 6,416 results
  29. Too Many Results?Your search come up with 1,760 results?Make your topic more specific by asking questions:Who? Who is involved, who is affected? If you’reinterested in poverty be more specific: poverty insingle-parent families.Where? Are you interested in data from Canada?When? Are you researching the last 5 years orduring the 1960s?
  30. Too Many Results?Modify your search by adding, removing or changing yourkeywords:Add in your other concepts using the AND Booleanoperator when necessary.Remember that AND will narrow your search by making itmore specific.Example: drug abuse AND sportsUse a different keyword from your list of synonymsExample: substance abuse instead of drug abuseEnter fewer synonyms or try a narrower termExample: teenagers instead of youth
  31. Too Few Results?Modify your search by adding, removing or changing yourkeywords:Add in your other concepts using the AND Booleanoperator when necessary.Remember that AND will narrow your search by making itmore specific.Example: drug abuse AND sportsUse a different keyword from your list of synonymsExample: substance abuse instead of drug abuseEnter fewer synonyms or try a narrower termExample: teenagers instead of youth
  32. Too Few Results?Add in more synonyms or related terms.The more related terms you have the broader your searchwill be. These are words connected by the OR Booleanoperator.Use the truncation symbol to get all the variants of a word.Example: aggress* will get you aggressive, aggression,aggressiveness.
  33. Google Power Searching CoursesImprove your Google search skills with our Power Searchingand Advanced Power Searching online courses. Source:
  34. Specialized Search EnginesGoogle Images: is a search service that allows users to searchthe Web for image content.
  35. Specialized Search EnginesGoogle Scholar: Provides a search of scholarly literature across manydisciplines and sources, including theses, books, abstracts and articles.
  36. Specialized Search EnginesGoogle News: A news aggregator selecting most up-to-dateinformation from thousands of publications by an automatic aggregationalgorithm.
  37. Specialized Search EnginesGoogle Books: searches the full text of books and magazines thatGoogle has scanned, converted to text using optical character recognition,and stored in its digital database
  38. Specialized Search EnginesGoogle Blog Search: specialized service of Google whichis used to search blogs.
  39. Specialized Search EnginesYoutube: a video sharing website
  40. Specialized Search EnginesSlideshare: a slide hosting website
  41. Specialized Search EnginesFind Sounds: a free site where you can search the Web for soundeffects.
  42. Specialized Search EnginesIMDb: online database of information related to films, actors, televisionprograms, and video games.
  43. Specialized Search EnginesWikipedia: a collaboratively edited, multilingual, free Internetencyclopedia supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. 26 million articles in 286 languages A 2005 investigation in Nature showed that the science articles they compared came close to the level of accuracy of Encyclopædia Britannica and had a similar rate of "serious errors“. Source: /438900a.html
  44. Evaluating InformationSource:,31067/
  45. Evaluating Information: 6 Criteria for Websites1. AUTHORITYAuthority reveals that the person, institution or agency responsible for asite has the qualifications and knowledge to do so. Evaluating a web site forauthority:Authorship: It should be clear who developed the site.Contact information should be clearly provided: e-mail address, snail mailaddress, phone number, and fax number.Credentials: the author should state qualifications, credentials, or personalbackground that gives them authority to present information.Check to see if the site supported by an organization or a commercial body
  46. Evaluating Information: 6 Criteria for Websites2. PURPOSEThe purpose of the information presented in the site should beclear. Some sites are meant to inform, persuade, state an opinion,entertain, or parody something or someone. Evaluating a web sitefor purpose:• Does the content support the purpose of the site?• Is the information geared to a specific audience (students, scholars, general reader)?• Is the site organized and focused?• Are the outside links appropriate for the site?• Does the site evaluate the links?
  47. Evaluating Information: 6 Criteria for Websites3. COVERAGEIt is difficult to assess the extent of coverage since depth in a site,through the use of links, can be infinite. One author may claimcomprehensive coverage of a topic while another may cover justone aspect of a topic. Evaluating a web site for coverage:• Does the site claim to be selective or comprehensive?• Are the topics explored in depth?• Compare the value of the site’s information compared to other similar sites.• Do the links go to outside sites rather than its own?• Does the site provide information with no relevant outside links?
  48. Evaluating Information: 6 Criteria for Websites4. CURRENCYCurrency of the site refers to:1) how current the information presented is, and2) how often the site is updated or maintained. It is important toknow when a site was created, when it was last updated, and if allof the links are current.
  49. Evaluating Information: 6 Criteria for Websites5. OBJECTIVITYObjectivity of the site should be clear.Beware of sites that contain bias or do not admit its bias freely.Objective sites present information with a minimum of bias.Evaluating a web site for objectivity:• Is the information presented with a particular bias?• Does the information try to sway the audience?• Does site advertising conflict with the content?• Is the site trying to explain, inform, persuade, or sell something?
  50. Evaluating Information: 6 Criteria for Websites6. ACCURACYEvaluating a web site for accuracy:• Reliability: Is the author affiliated with a known, respectable institution?• References: do statistics and other factual information receive proper references as to their origin?• Does the reading you have already done on the subject make the information seem accurate?• Is the information comparable to other sites on the same topic?• Does the text follow basic rules of grammar, spelling and composition?• Is a bibliography or reference list included?
  51. Sharing FilesSource:
  52. Social Bookmarking Browser widgetSource:
  53. Content Curation Source:
  54. Content CurationSource:
  55. Digital LiteracySource:
  56. Practical Example: Learning Situation Multicultural Potluck FestivalYour class is composed by students from different countries. They willorganize an annual potluck, with typical foods from their countries.• You will make a list of all the countries.• Students cannot select their own country, so they can learn other countries’ foods and culture.• A draw will define which country will be assigned to each student.• The students will: research the most popular foods of each country, learn how to prepare them and how to pronounce them on the original language, prepare a poster with info on the selected country, like flag, map, languages spoken, etc. Adapted from:
  57. Practical Example: Learning Situation Multicultural Potluck Festival Algeria Australia Brazil Haiti India Adapted from:
  58. Using Google Translate to Order Food Source:
  59. Searching on the Web: Google Nose Source:
  60. Resources21st Century Information Fluency: Research:’s Digital Literacy Tour: Power Searching Course: Search Quick Reference
  61. Questions
  62. Contact Me Rafael Scapin, Ph.D.rscapin@dawsoncollege.qc.carscapin DawsonITE Blog