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Explaining reasons for citation and comparing articles: an assessment in a Masters-level module


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Presentation given for the ACRL Virtual Worlds Interest Group in Second Life, 20 November 2016

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Explaining reasons for citation and comparing articles: an assessment in a Masters-level module

  1. 1. Explaining reasons for citation and comparing articles: an assessment in a Masters-level module Sheila Webber/ Sheila Yoshikawa November 2016
  2. 2. Context • Masters-level programmes (mainly MSc Information Management and MSc Information Systems; in the Information School, University of Sheffield, UK) • Core module: Information Systems in Organisations (worth 25% of marks in Semester 1 of the 1 year Masters courses) • 190 students; Majority from outside the UK , mostly from mainland China Sheila Webber 2016
  3. 3. Information Literacy component • 2 lecture sessions, with particular focus on IL in workplace settings, information behaviour and the relationship between IL and Information Management & Knowledge management • For assignment (considering constraints), decided to focus on academic skills students would need in their coursework and dissertation: have identified that reading, summarising and synthesising articles is challenging for them • Other assignment (70% module mark) was coursework answering questions about a business case Sheila Webber 2016
  4. 4. Assessment • Target was to have something which could be marked in 20 minutes • Wanted to design in elements that discouraged collusion and plagiarism • Was being marked by a team: 2 faculty members (me and colleague) and teaching assistants • A colleague (Professor Willett) who has investigated citation behaviour selected a list of reasons for citing articles (derived from a research study, Harwood, 2009 - this reference is in the notecard) • Briefings created for students and markers Sheila Webber 2016
  5. 5. • Students were allocated 2 articles. – Article A was from their module reading list or mentioned prominently in a lecture – Article B was an article that cited article A • No more than 10 students had the same article A/B combination (there were 5 different “Article A”s, several “Article B”s were identified for each) • Students selected citations, identified reasons for citation and explained why that reason had been chosen • They also had to compare and contrast the 2 articles in one of 3 ways Sheila Webber 2016
  6. 6. Example This was one of the worked examples given to students - the comments (red lines) elaborated points e.g. “Where there are options a, b etc. for a reason, say which ones apply. You can do this either in the explanation or (as with the next example) in the “Reason Number” box.” There was a fixed word count. Sheila Webber 2016
  7. 7. Rationale • Encourage close reading of 2 articles • Encourage thought about – why someone might reference someone else – what the relationship is between two academic articles – how you might build on or draw on someone else’s research Sheila Webber 2016
  8. 8. ACRL Information Literacy Framework?
  9. 9. Scholarship as Conversation • Communities of scholars, researchers, or professionals engage in sustained discourse with new insights and discoveries occurring over time as a result of varied perspectives and interpretations. • Research in scholarly and professional fields is a discursive practice in which ideas are formulated, debated, and weighed against one another over extended periods of time Sheila Webber 2016
  10. 10. • Knowledge Practices - Learners who are developing their information literate abilities – cite the contributing work of others in their own information production; – identify the contribution that particular articles, books, and other scholarly pieces make to disciplinary knowledge Sheila Webber 2016
  11. 11. Authority Is Constructed and Contextual • Information resources reflect their creators’ expertise and credibility, and are evaluated based on the information need and the context in which the information will be used. Authority is constructed in that various communities may recognize different types of authority. It is contextual in that the information need may help to determine the level of authority required. Sheila Webber 2016
  12. 12. • Knowledge Practices - Learners who are developing their information literate abilities – define different types of authority, such as subject expertise (e.g., scholarship), societal position (e.g., public office or title), or special experience (e.g., participating in a historic event); – understand that many disciplines have acknowledged authorities in the sense of well-known scholars and publications that are widely considered “standard,” and yet, even in those situations, some scholars would challenge the authority of those sources; Sheila Webber 2016
  13. 13. Research as Inquiry • Research is iterative and depends upon asking increasingly complex or new questions whose answers in turn develop additional questions or lines of inquiry in any field. • Knowledge Practices – organize information in meaningful ways – draw reasonable conclusions based on the analysis and interpretation of information Sheila Webber 2016
  14. 14. Outcomes • Evidence of some better understanding of citation and academic writing • Relatively low level of plagiarism or collusion • A number of students who had not read the articles with understanding, or assumed it would be an easy task and left too little time to complete it • If repeated it, would benefit from more preparatory time on academic reading in this discipline Sheila Webber 2016
  15. 15. Sheila Webber Information School University of Sheffield Twitter: @sheilayoshikawa Photo: Sheila Webber
  16. 16. • Harwood, N. (2009) An interview-based study of the functions of citations in academic writing across two disciplines. Journal of Pragmatics, 41(3), 497-518. doi: 10.1016/j.pragma.2008.06.001 Sheila Webber 2016 Reference