Teaching students to identify appropriate sources for research papers includes teaching them the difference between scholarly and popular sources. It is tempting to tell students the difference between the two, but a more effective method is to show them a scholarly and a popular source about the same topic and have them identify the differences. Having students generate the differences gets students more actively engaged and leads to better understanding and longer-lasting learning.
S.O.S. for Information Literacy provides ideas for teaching a wide number of different information literacy topics. The lesson plan “But Is It Scholarly?” describes one way of teaching students how to distinguish scholarly from popular articles. It also includes suggestions of pairs of articles you can use in your own course.
If you have suggestions for other pairs of articles, please post a comment and provide the citation information for the two articles.