[Air-L] acceptable sources for undergraduate research in new media fields

Gilbert B. Rodman gbrodman at mindspring.com
Wed Oct 20 08:46:38 PDT 2010

Let me second what Todd said ...

... and add one more wrinkle.  I require students doing research 
projects in my classes to include a certain number of "qualifying 
sources" (one of the criteria being that the work in question has to be 
scholarly in nature) ... but anything above and beyond those qualifying 
sources is fair game.  After all, I don't want them to *avoid* sources 
that might actually provide them with useful information.  I simply want 
to make sure that they engage in a particular type of research as part 
of the overall process.


On 10/20/2010 10:34 AM, Todd Harper wrote:
> While I understand where you're coming from in not wanting freshmen to
> simply rattle off the top 5 google hits for their topic, I'm not sure that
> banning internet sources is going to accomplish the goal you're setting out
> to do. As you say, the more recent your topic, the more publication delay
> and other factors bite into your available sources on it.
> My suggestion (and one that has worked reasonably well for me) is to spend
> some time with them identifying what the difference between a
> credible/acceptable source and a non-credible source is, at least in terms
> of what you consider those things to be. The usual offender here for me is
> Wikipedia; while there is a time and a place for citing a Wikipedia article,
> for example, I've had students use it as the end-all-be-all of knowledge on
> any given subject. This usually leads to me walking them through a
> recently-vandalized Wikipedia page's history (my favorite was a page for the
> *Transformers* animated shows that replaced all the image captions with rap
> lyrics) and explaining the ups and downs of wikis as information sources.
> I think if you make it clear that "JOE BOB'S SUPER AWESOME GLEE BLOG!" is
> not a credible source, but the actual show website from Fox is, they'll get
> the drift. I just feel like, in banning Google as a research tool, you are
> inadvertently keeping good, useful sources out of the hands of your students
> in an attempt to get them not to use it poorly. If you spend the time to
> walk them through how to determine is information is reliable, credible, and
> substantiated instead, I think you will reap greater rewards in the long
> run.
> On Wed, Oct 20, 2010 at 10:57 AM, Tery G<teryg93 at gmail.com>  wrote:
>> Hi all,
>> I teach a freshman level class called Digital Media Literacy. It's an
>> introduction to concepts and tools related to digital media. Each student
>> does a final project, which, of course, requires them to do research. I
>> spend a lot of time with them -- read articles, give examples, do some
>> hands-on work, etc. -- covering why Google in particular and websites in
>> general are not the sources they should be using (or trusting). They know
>> how to use the library databases, but the topics they're examining are so
>> new that anything in peer-reviewed journals about those topics is dated.
>> Does anyone have suggestions about what might be acceptable resources in
>> this situation? I let them use articles from *The New York Times* and
>> the *Journal
>> of Computer-Mediated Communication*, but I have difficulty justifying their
>> not using some other sources I really would prefer they not use when they
>> can't find new enough information in the peer-reviewed journals.
>> TIA,
>> Tery Griffin
>> Associate Professor of Media Arts
>> Wesley College
>> Dover DE 19901
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