Unit 4 Critical Thinking & Research Assignment
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Please read through the following comments carefully to see why we are focusing on online source evaluation in this unit and how this assignment relates to critical thinking; pay special attention to the two comments in highlighted in red:
“The World Wide Web can be a great place to accomplish research on many topics. But putting documents or pages on the web is easy, cheap or free, unregulated, and unmonitored (at least in the USA). There is a famous Steiner cartoon published in the New Yorker (July 5, 1993) with two dogs sitting before a terminal looking at a computer screen; one says to the other "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog." The great wealth that the Internet has brought to so much of society is the ability for people to express themselves, find one another, exchange ideas, discover possible peers worldwide they never would have otherwise met, and, through hypertext links in web pages, suggest so many other people's ideas and personalities to anyone who comes and clicks. There are some real "dogs" out there, but there's also great treasure. Therein lies the rationale for evaluating carefully whatever you find on the Web. The burden is on you - the reader - to establish the validity, authorship, timeliness, and integrity of what you find. Documents can easily be copied and falsified or copied with omissions and errors -- intentional or accidental. In the general World Wide Web there are no editors (unlike most print publications) to proofread and "send it back" or "reject it" until it meets the standards of a publishing house's reputation. Most pages found in general search engines for the web are self-published or published by businesses small and large with motives to get you to buy something or believe a point of view. Even within university and library web sites, there can be many pages that the institution does not try to oversee. The web needs to be free like that!! And you, if you want to use it for serious research, need to cultivate the habit of healthy skepticism, of questioning everything you find with critical thinking.”
For the Unit 4 Assignment, you will be locating and evaluating online sources to determine whether or not they provide reliable, accurate information, the kind of information you might use if you were writing a research paper. You will not actually be writing a research paper in this course; however, this assignment is designed to give you some practice locating and evaluating online sources—two skills that will be very important in future Kaplan courses. After completing the Unit 4 reading, conduct some online research of your own in order to locate one online source that would be suitable to use as a reference for a research paper, a source you consider reliable and accurate after applying the 5 Ws of Web Site Evaluation (http://kathyschrock.net/abceval/5ws.pdf). You may search the internet using techniques you have learned in Unit 4. Remember: Blogs, Wikis, and message boards are not acceptable for research since they are opinion and/or editable by anyone.
Note: Database sites such as Google, Bing and Yahoo hold many possible sources that can be chosen and may be used as search engines, but these types of sites are not to be evaluated for this assignment. Please refer to the Doc Sharing area of the course for important information regarding search engines, web search techniques, and web site evaluation strategies.
It is recommended but not required that you search for topics within the