Educative experiences of rural junior high history fair participants seeking and evaluating online primary sources
Riley Todd Johnson, Northern Illinois University, United States
Northern Illinois University . Awarded
This phenomenological ethnographic multi-case study's purpose was to gain insight into experiences of rural junior high History Fair participants as they searched for and evaluated online primary sources. Drawing on the theories of Dewey and Kuhlthau, the study examined how the participants searched the Internet, what strategies they used to evaluate search results and web pages, why certain online primary sources were selected, and what role History Fair experience played in these processes.
The ten participants in this study had minimal instruction about how to seek and evaluate online information. Instead, the participants in this study relied on and trusted their classmates to help make evaluative decisions about search results and web sites. In addition, over the course of the research, many of the participants developed search strategies by using more specific terminology rather than just searching with the name of their research topic. In doing so, the participants used critical thinking to find information for a History Fair project. The ability to critically evaluate information on the Internet is a key aspect of being a citizen in modern America. The process of evaluating information on the web should be one of discernment and critical thinking and not trust alone.
Johnson, R.T. Educative experiences of rural junior high history fair participants seeking and evaluating online primary sources. Ph.D. thesis, Northern Illinois University.
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