High school research and critical literacy: social studies with and despite Wikipedia

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High school research and critical literacy: social studies with and despite Wikipedia
Authors: Houman Harouni [edit item]
Citation: Harvard Educational Review 79 (3): 473-493. 2009.
Publication type: Journal article
Peer-reviewed: Yes
DOI: Define doi.
Google Scholar cites: Citations
Link(s): Paper link
Added by Wikilit team: Added on initial load
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High school research and critical literacy: social studies with and despite Wikipedia is a publication by Houman Harouni.

[edit] Abstract

Drawing on experiences in his social studies classroom, Houman Harouni evaluates both the challenges and possibilities of helping high school students develop critical research skills. The author describes how he used Wikipedia to design classroom activities that address issues of authorship, neutrality, and reliability in information gathering. The online encyclopedia is often lamented by teachers, scholars, and librarians, but its widespread use necessitates a new approach to teaching research. In describing the experience, Harouni concludes that teaching research skills in the contemporary context requires ongoing observations of the research strategies and practices students already employ as well as the active engagement of student interest and background knowledge.

[edit] Research questions

"This essay captures my attempt to address a variety of issues regarding student research—the independent gathering and evaluation of information—in a classroom committed to fostering critical literacy. It draws on the notes I took on my social studies classes over a period of two years and ongoing conversations with students designed to refine and expand the relationship between my students and sources of information."

Research details

Topics: Cross-domain student readership, Student information literacy [edit item]
Domains: Information science [edit item]
Theory type: Analysis [edit item]
Wikipedia coverage: Main topic [edit item]
Theories: "Undetermined" [edit item]
Research design: Case study [edit item]
Data source: Wikipedia pages [edit item]
Collected data time dimension: Cross-sectional [edit item]
Unit of analysis: Article [edit item]
Wikipedia data extraction: Live Wikipedia [edit item]
Wikipedia page type: Article [edit item]
Wikipedia language: Not specified [edit item]

[edit] Conclusion

"I noted three different types of evaluation that, previous to our Wikipedia lessons, they either did not perform or did not articulate. First, they tended to show preference for articles that clearly indicated the author’s full name. Second, they preferred to cite from more comprehensive articles, rather than pages that provided short, summarized texts on a topic. These texts were consulted or studied, but the students did not seem to rely on their content for building their projects. Third, students would check the tone of the articles for any observable bias. None of these three skills are inherent to simple, mechanical literacy. Furthermore, active application of these three criteria is not the same as “feeling” the legitimacy of a page or choosing between one page and another based on the look or format of the page, which the students were able to perform at a rudimentary level prior to our shared learning experiences. Using these three criteria, the student is applying a self-formulated methodology that addresses the issues of authorship, reliability, and neutrality of a text. It is also significant to the students’ future learning that they are able to articulate the thinking behind their choices. In this case, their articulation indicates a basic understanding of the issues concerned. All three tendencies I have mentioned require extra time and effort on the part of students. Their application, particularly in the absence of any clear rubric requirements, signals some personal investment in ensuring the integrity of their work. For me, as their teacher, it represents a triumph in establishing a classroom culture that values careful and critical research. Although it is not all that is required of a critical researcher, acquiring these skills is a step in the proper direction."

[edit] Comments

"After Wikipedia lessons, students were able to articulate the choice of their references. Comprehensive and unbiased articles were the students main attributes of their target articles."

Further notes[edit]