Find a variety of information to learn about a topic
- Background information
- First-hand experience
- Data or statistics
- Get Help
- Evaluate information with SIFT
Some of the concepts and teaching approaches introduced in this guide are based on the following work:
Bizup, J. (2008). BEAM: A rhetorical vocabulary for teaching research-based writing. Rhetoric Review, 27(1), 72-86.
Farkas, M. “Good for What? Teaching Sources for Sustainable Lifelong Information Literacy.” Association of Colleges and Research Libraries Conference 2015, Portland, OR, March 26, 2015. With Sara (Seely) Robertson and Anne-Marie Dietering.
Rock Creek Library
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Why focus on evidence?
Sources are containers for INFORMATION and different types of EVIDENCE.
Sources are helpful for research, but only as much as the information or evidence included within the source is useful for your purposes.
I find it helpful to think about the source itself -- whether a news piece, a book chapter or a website -- as the CONTAINER for the information or evidence.
Like the jar in this picture, sources are only as good as their contents, and selecting what’s most useful depends on what’s inside.
|"Homemade granola in a jar. Healthy food on white background" by wuestenigel is marked with CC BY 2.0.||
The challenge is often that of finding useful information within a source.
When we use the word evidence, we're using it to mean anything that is fact-based, observable and generally agreed upon. In this picture, there is a jar with food inside, including what looks like seeds and cereal or granola of some kind. That’s an observable fact.
If I were to say that “The cereal in the jar is delicious” that is NOT evidence, it’s inference or interpretation based on what I’m looking at.
But, if you are quoting me as saying as much, such as “The librarian said the granola is delicious” then that’s an observable fact.
We don’t have to agree with the librarian, but we can agree that the librarian made that statement and use it as evidence.
- Last Updated: Feb 22, 2023 4:01 PM
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