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Biology for Non-Majors Lab Manual (BIOL 1114)

Evaluating Sources Lab Pages

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Getting Started

Introduction:

Think of the last time you conducted an online search because you wanted to learn about a particular topic.  When you used a search engine to find websites on your topic, thousands of sites were listed for you.  How did you decide which links to read?  As you were reading, how did you determine whether that website was “good” or not? 

 

It’s important you have the ability to locate reliable information.  This activity is aimed to help you critically think about how to evaluate resources and to classify the three types of science articles.

 

When listening to a person tell a story or reading one yourself, how do you determine if the information is credible or just more “fake news”?

Review the lesson below:

Expectations for SCIENCE Source Materials

Different disciplines can have different expectations for sources of information.  In a Business class, it might be OK to use a company website, but that probably wouldn’t work in a Psychology class.  Science has specific standards, too.  Typically, science classifies sources as one of three categories:

 

  1. Peer-reviewed/primary source – Data is published in a scientific, professional journal.  The information was rigorously tested and has been evaluated by other researchers in the field for accuracy, objectivity, and validity before being published.  This is the method used when scientists are sharing information and current research with others within the scientific community.
    1. Peer-reviewed/primary source Example 1
    2. Peer-reviewed/primary source Example 2
  2. Secondary source – Information is provided as a summary of the data published in primary sources.  The goal is to convey information on current research findings to the general public.  This method is equivalent to reporting science news in a reliable, unbiased platform that is easier to read than primary sources.
    1. Secondary source Example 1
    2. Secondary source Example 2
  3. Opinion/advertisement – These resources express ideas based on opinion rather than scientific data. The ideas expressed could be, but aren’t necessarily, accurate according to current research.  The tone of the article is biased and/or persuasive. 
    1. Opinion/advertisement source Example 1
    2. Opinion/advertisement source Example 2

Use what you know about evaluating source material and make sure you understand the similarities and differences between these types of science sources.

Quiz: Are You Ready?

Source Documents (Probiotics)

Skim through the nine (9) documents listed below. The documents are web-based resources.

  • Ask yourself if this article is a credible science source or not?  How do you know?
  • Make a note of which science source category the document belongs in.

Source Documents (CBD Oil)

Skim through the nine (9) documents listed below. The documents are web-based resources.

  • Ask yourself if this article is a credible science source or not?  How do you know?
  • Make a note of which science source category the document belongs in.

Source Documents (Keto Diet)

Skim through the nine (9) documents listed below. The documents are web-based resources.

  • Ask yourself if this article is a credible science source or not?  How do you know?
  • Make a note of which science source category the document belongs in.

Source Documents (Vaping)

Skim through the nine (9) documents listed below. The documents are web-based resources.

  • Ask yourself if this article is a credible science source or not?  How do you know?
  • Make a note of which science source category the document belongs in.

Source Documents (GMOs)

Skim through the nine (9) documents listed below. The documents are web-based resources.

  • Ask yourself if this article is a credible science source or not?  How do you know?
  • Make a note of which science source category the document belongs in.

Attribution

Part One of this lab is adapted from "Fact Opinion or Just Fiction?" by Deanna Mayers, Bonnie Waltz, Tracy Rains is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0/ A derivative from the original work
Part Two and Part Three of this Lab, "Evaluating Sources" by Dr. Ephanie DeBey and Jennifer Hulsey Campbell is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

 

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