Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Students discover that research is fun

From The Shifted Librarian, I learn about this article by Paul Waelchli. It turns out that thousands of people playing fantasy football are finding that, to do well, they need to acquire large amounts of information and that what they are doing is "research." Most importantly, they are learning some of the finer points of information-seeking behavior,* namely how to evaluate their sources. So aside from the the obvious questions of "What do I need to know?" and "Where can I find the information," they also learn to ask themselves, "Is this source reliable? Is it up to date? Is this bit of information more important than some other?"

In the library world, you can hear a constant lament that students don't know how to discriminate between reliable and unreliable sources, or even that they need to try. This could be a neat way to illustrate and teach a more sophisticated research strategy.

* Yes, we have to have convoluted language for these things.

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