DO COMMUNITY-COLLEGE STUDENTS USE MORE CREDIBLE RESEARCH SOURCES
DO COMMUNITY-COLLEGE STUDENTS USE MORE CREDIBLE RESEARCH SOURCES IN ENGLISH COMPOSITION ESSAYS THAN STUDENTS AT FOR-PROFIT COLLEGES? Laurie Henry [email protected] m [email protected] http://blog.heartland.org/2013/05/you-can-lead-a-horse-to-water/ UC BLUE ASH UC Blue Ash is the third-largest college (by enrollment) in the University of Cincinnati and the
largest regional college campus in Ohio. Opened in 1967, the college is located in the northeastern corner of Hamilton County and serves residents of the Tristate area. 60 degree and certificate programs as well as programs preparing a student to transfer to a fouryear school. Cost for Associates Degree in Medical Assisting: $11,780.00 (+ books) LINCOLN COLLEGE OF TECHNOLOGY Lincoln College of Technology offers career training in Automotive, Health Sciences, Business and Information Technology, Skilled Trades, Spa and Cosmetology, and Culinary. 13,347 students among 38 campuses in 17 states. Cost for Associates Degree in Medical Assisting: $30,648.00 (+ books)
RESEARCH QUESTION Given similar English composition assignments and information-literacy instruction, will students at the for-profit school and the community college exhibit similar skill levels with the use sources in their research essays? Or will one group do a significantly better job of selecting sources, incorporating them into their essays, and citing them than the other? EVERYONE LIKES TO USE WEBSITES Researchers (two English Composition instructors and two librarians) tracked citation patterns among 40 sections of English comp 1101 students at Georgia State University in 2005. 1200 600
0 Books Articles Websites (Barratt et al, 2009) THE WORDS WE HATE TO HEAR: Mostly, I just picked whatever interested me. If they ha d a bias, I didnt really care. I just picked out the stuff I wanted, and tha ts how I found my resources (McClure & Clink, 2009). Students indicated that the target of their information searching was concise, easy-to -a ccess documents that reflected practica l information rather tha n scholar ly resea rch. On the other hand, students found traditional library search strategies difficult and
gave them negative ratings in enjoyment a nd ability to provide useful information (Dubicki, 20 10, p. 361). Access to the wealth of informa tion freely a vailable over the internet by conducting a simple na tural la ngua ge inquiry using a search engine reveals thousands, if not millions of hits. Reviewing just the first pa ge or two of results can usually expose enough information to satisfy the minimum requirements for assignments (Dubicki, 2010, p. 375). LIBRARY INSTRUCTION AT MY SCHOOLS Introduction to key databases Summon (UCBA) Opposing Viewpoints (both campuses) Academic Search Complete (UCBA) InfoTrac searches (Lincoln) Introduction to source citation features within
databases Time afterward to experiment with databases; students required to find an article relevant to their paper topic and be able to explain to me why they might use it in their paper DATABASES: UC VS. LINCOLN. A QUESTION I CANT ANSWER The UCBA students have a far wider range of library resources at their disposal than the Lincoln students. Does the number of resources they have change the way they work on their papers? (For example, do the UCBA students turn to Google because Summon is overwhelming? Do the Lincoln students turn to Google because our databases are insufficient?) At UC: Summon Discovery Service 818 databases
At Lincoln No Discovery Services 2 databases (Gale/InfoTrac databases + LexisNexis Academic) (plus sources accessible through Ohio Web Library and Kentucky Virtual Library) THE PAPERS I STUDIED Thirty-two essays each from UCBA and Lincoln Each from the second in a series of two English composition courses Students were asked to take a stand on a controversial issue and were encouraged to write about an issue under discussion
in their major field. They were required to use a minimum of three research sources but were not required to use library databases, although they knew their work would be evaluated in part on the credibility of their PAPER TITLES: LINCOLN " R i s ky B e h a v i o r ! " A re Yo u a t R i s k for HPV Glaucoma C ro h n ' s D i s e a s e a n d C o l i t i s G a y M a rr i a g e T h e E ff e c t o f S m o k i n g C i g a re t t e s W h i c h C u s t o d y i s B e s t f o r C h i l d re n o f D i v o rc e s
Abortion? Is abortion right or w ro n g ? S o rr y , n o s e r v i c e o n l i n e ( l e g a l summons served through Facebook) E ff e c t s o f S t e m C e l l Re s e a rc h L i c e n s e d Pa re n t i n g N o n - Pro fi t v s f o r- p ro fi t M e t h a d o n e Clinics T h e I n e q u a l i t y o f M a rr i a g e To d a y (gay marriage) A l z h e i m e r ' s D i s e a s e : h o w i t a ff e c t s the family D r i n k i n g A l c o h o l D u r i n g Pre g n a n c y i s D a n g e ro u s Our Rights as Human Beings to Live or Die
W h o a re We t o J u d g e ? ( P e t e R o s e ) Lo v e i n A n y Fo rm ( g a y m a r r i a g e ) Assisted Suicide Should Juvenile be Shackled in Custody? E ff e c t i v e Le a d e r s h i p S m o k i n g i n Pu b l i c Le s s Le n i e n t ( a t h l e t e s w h o c o m m i t crimes) Ra c i a l D i s c r i m i n a t i o n Pr i s o n G a n g s Juvenile Drug Use N e cro t i z i n g E n t e ro c o l i t i s Le g a l i z e M a r i j u a n a Te e n Pre g n a n c y Fo o d S t a m p s
PAPER TITLES: UCBA H o w We Pe rc e i v e L a n g u a g e " E ff e c t s o f Ad v e r t i s i n g o n C h i l d re n " I n d i e M u s i c : M o re M a i n s t re a m T h a n We T h i n k Cochlear implants: to use or not to use T h e Pu r s u i t o f H a p p i n e s s (hallucinogens in ancient cultures) A look into becoming a succesful trader T h e R i s i n g T h re a t o f N o r t h Ko re a T h e E ff e c t s o f t h e S t o c k M a r ke t o n the US Economy Physical Health Issues Caused by Debt Income Inequality & Economic Crisis
The De-Education of America E n ro n : U n t o u c h a b l e t o B a n k r u p t i n a Blink of an Eye T h e Lo n e Pu z z l e Pi e c e ( v a c c i n e s a n d autism) Drugs and Crime Le a rn i n g w i t h S t y l e : t h e M o d e rn E r a (videogames are educational) T h e H e a l t h B e n e fi t s o f a P l a n t -B a s e d Diet Te c h n o l o g y ' s S t ro n g h o l d o n Ac h i e v e m e n t ( d i g i t a l d i v i d e i s r e a l ) America's Struggle in Education How the education system impacts l a n g u a g e m i n o r i t y c h i l d re n T h e o n g o i n g fl u o r i d e d e b a t e
H a rr y Po t t e r v s . S h a ke s p e a re T h e E ff e c t s o f t h e Re c e s s i o n o n Dentistry Is Medication the Answer? (ADHD) Wa t c h i n g A r t g o ( a r t s e d u c a t i o n i n public schools) M e d i c a re a n d M e d i c a i d Fr a u d T h e Wo r l d o f J o u rn a l i s m a n d Tw i t t e r The Start of Change (men in nursing) Ta k i n g t h e S t e p s To w a rd s D r u g - Fre e Nurses SOMETIMES, THERE WAS LITTLE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SCHOOLS 30 20
10 0 le b a u g Ar s e Th is t
n e m te a St pt em t At at xt e -t n
i ti a t ci s n o pt m e t At
R t a er f e e Lincol g pa n ce n e SOMETIMES, THERE WAS QUITE A BIT
12 250 10 200 8 6 150 Lincoln UCBA 4 50
2 0 100 Obvious Plagiarism 0 Number of Sources WHERE THEY GOT THEIR SOURCES Lincoln Library Databases 20% News 17% Advocacy Sites 14%
Govt sites 8% WebMD & similar 8% Books (including textbooks) 7% Personal blogs or sites 5% Other / NA 17% UC Blue Ash News 21% Library Databases 19% Advocacy Sites 15% Scholarly journals not found via library databases 10% Books (including textbooks) 7%
Consumer Magazines 5% Other / NA 23% WHAT IS OTHER? Non-expert or crowdsourced reference (like Ask.com) (both schools) Wiki (Lincoln) Trade journals (both schools) Product Advertisements and press releases (UCBA) Interviews (UCBA) Professional Organization information (UCBAall American Dental Association related) Feature films (UCBA) BUT WILL THEY CITE?
INADEQUATE CITATION INADEQUATE CITATION INADEQUATE CITATION ADEQUATE CITATION (BY SAME STUDENT AS PREVIOUS) ADEQUATE SOURCE CITATION ADEQUATE APA OR MLA CITATION 35 30 25 20 Lincoln
UCBA 15 10 5 0 Adequate APA or MLA Citation METHOD OF CREATING CITATIONS SUGGESTIONS VARIATIONS IN INTERNET ACCESS OR COMFORT WITH TECHNOLOGY 16 12 8 4
0 e m b Bi r .o g or s ila
im r l o to e s ft a o ab os t r
a ic D M W d r o Lincoln UCBA ONE REASON STUDENTS USE THE INTERNET INSTEAD OF OUR DATABASES
THIS DOESNT HAPPEN WITH GOOGLE WHAT WE CAN DOAND ENCOURAGE INSTRUCTORS TO DO Provide course-specific links, via LibGuides or the librarys website, so that students do not have to click too much to get to the online sources the instructors hope they will use Make sure that library instruction with library databases is hands on Encourage the students to find out enough about the author of the research article and the publication in which it appears to determine whether readers will perceive it as credible Require students to use library databases for a certain
number of their research sources Provide assignments that require use of sources more complex than what is provided by WebMD AN EXAMPLE OF AN ASSIGNMENT THAT REQUIRES SOME REAL READING The Athens City Council is considering whether to institute a citywide smoking ban. The City Council has hired the market research firm you work for to present a report on the issue. Your task is to research smoking bans that other cities may have instituted and to present a 1,000- to 1,500-word essay on your findings. The City Council requires that you present them with enough information regarding the major issues, both for and against the ban, so they make an informed decision (Barratt et al, 2009, p. 51).
CONCLUSIONS Students need more guidance (at least in my classes) when it comes to choosing topics for their controversialissue papers and in evaluating advocacy websites. Students are generally savvy enough not to present information from product advertisements as factual data in their research papers. Its disturbing that each group of students selected only 20 percent of their sources from library databases, but few of the sources they used were outrageously inappropriate. The Lincoln students had a much more difficult time with the writing task than the UCBA students, as is shown in the quality of their topic choices, their writing, and their source citation.
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