INTERNET RESEARCH: NOISE VS. NEWS
Research Skills Training
Events like our past election expose weaknesses in how Americans gather research using the internet. There is a lot of information out there and it can be hard to tell what is reliable. Our personal biases can also affect how we choose, think and feel about what we see.
In order to address this issue, we are calling for volunteers to offer internet research skills trainings to their community. It can be any population of your choice (i.e., students, community groups, elderly) in your local area. You can build it into your own schedule. Do it when it works for you! It can be once or frequent. You can get friends, family and others involved. You do not have to be a member of Alpha Rho Lambda Sorority to volunteer!
Here’s what you would do: Connect with schools, community groups, at your workplace or other sources that can benefit from this training. You will need to have access to a meeting space and a captive audience. Schedule trainings. Spread the word. Get your audience.
There is no script. Trainers will need to have the skill set to teach the agenda (provided below). The skill set needed comes from knowledge and experience with research. If you have ever written a paper with lots of sources or did research for work, you’ve got the skills! Have fun with it!
Remember: It’s important to understand your audience. Be careful with your language and make sure you are easy to understand.
Computers are not necessary, but can be very helpful. Trainees can be instructed to bring laptops, smart phones and/or tablets. They need data access. If your location has wifi, even better! These items are useful but not absolutely necessary to the training. You can print off examples for exercises and bring them if these tools are not available.
There are four skills exercises. You will have to select and prepare fitting exercises to teach the skill. Since this past election was full of emotion on both sides, it is a good idea to stay away from related topics. Local news topics can be relevant and easy to compare fact vs. opinion. In the future, specific ski
The desired outcomes of this project are as follows:
1. Trainees will learn how to tell the difference between news sites and opinion sites.
2. Trainees will learn how to apply reasoning skills to any information they find.
3. Trainees will learn how to process information through healthy discussion.
If you would like to volunteer, email firstname.lastname@example.org. You will receive two files: a trainee sign-in sheet and a survey. Print these as needed. After the training, just scan the results and submit them to email@example.com.
A test survey is in the works. The goal of the survey is to see if the training works. The questions will measure whether or not the skill outcomes are reached and ask how the training can improve.
This training has no official length, but no more than 50-75 minutes is suggested. Likely length is 60-75 minutes. You will need to time what you share to keep the training brief but as useful as possible.
The AGENDA is as follows:
- Website Extensions
- Accuracy, Accuracy, Accuracy
- Real News vs. Opinion
- Skills Exercise: Sourcing Actual News
- Historical Investigation
- Google the right way
- Reliable vs Unreliable Resources (.org, .edu, online libraries, Wikipedia)
- See the whole picture
- Skills Exercise: News vs. Noise (5-7 minutes)
- Data Sharing
- Share reliable source information
- Pros and cons of audio/video vs. print
- Understanding Opposing Viewpoints
- Innuendo vs. facts
- Apply reasoning: Possibility vs. likelihood
- 100% is a statistical impossibility
- Figure out what matters to others
- Don’t instigate arguments OR Check yourself before you wreck yourself
- Skills Exercise: Using Reasoning Skills
- Active Listening Skills
- Pay attention
- Let them know you are listening
- Offer Feedback
- Don’t judge
- Respond appropriately
- Skills Exercise: Information Processing for Healthy Discussion
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to volunteer to offer this training in your community! Support will be provided as needed.
NOTE: If you have recommendations to improve the agenda, please share. We are open to improvements.
ASSIST: If you would like to create the test survey or any of the skills exercises, your assistance is welcome!