Searching the web can be learned!

On the occasion of the last AQUOPS conference, Julie-Christine Gagné and Caroline Mottet, from Laval University, offered a workshop on research on the Web, in particular via Google and Wikipedia. A teaching student participated and gives us her report.

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by Andréanne Poirier, JournalisTIC

On the occasion of the last AQUOPS conference, Julie-Christine Gagné and Caroline Mottet, from Laval University, offered a workshop on research on the Web, in particular via Google and Wikipedia. A teaching student participated and gives us her report.

From April 15 to 17 was held in Quebec on the 32e colloquiumAQUOPS. On site, teaching students from Laval University attended various workshops and gave their impressions. on the blog from the Association. We have the opportunity to present some of their reports to you. This is Andréanne Poirier's.

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Martine Mottet, professor of educational technology, and Julie-Christine Gagné, research professional at Laval University, provided interesting tools in their workshop to teach students how to use Google and Wikipedia effectively. In fact, when searching in Google, students often have difficulty finding sources and assessing their credibility or relevance. The Wikipedia site, for its part, is the one that is most often consulted by students. But, is it a reliable source? Should we forbid students to quote Wikipedia?

Search efficiently in Google

There may be several reasons why students cannot find what they are looking for in Google. First, most often, they do not use the right keywords, or use in insufficient number. Second, students do not use logical operators during their research. Students must therefore be taught to do their research taking these elements into account.

For example, thanks to Boolean operators, we can search for an exact expression and exclude or include certain expressions. To evaluate the sources, the facilitators suggest teaching the students to read a URL address and to decode the different parts to judge the credibility of the site. They also offer the 3Qpoc approach to rate a website.

Can we trust Wikipedia?

In fact, 73 % teachers advise their students against using Wikipedia, but few of them use the tools offered by Wikipedia to check the credibility of articles. Moreover, Wikipedia is based on the principles of neutrality, reliability and verifiability. In addition, this site undeniably has several advantages: accessible, simple, rich in popularized information, presence of references and hyperlinks.

The fact remains that it also presents certain risks. The accuracy of the information is sometimes uncertain, the sources can be insufficient, the content is volatile and the expertise of the contributors, sometimes nebulous. So, can we trust Wikipedia? According to the facilitators, yes, but with vigilance. It is therefore a question of exercising the students' critical judgment by asking them to consider the following elements:

- Compare Wikipedia information with other sources;

- Read the warning banners that Wikipedia puts at the top of the article: they inform about the limits of the article concerned;

- Consult the "History" tab: it gives the list of authors and the history of modifications. The older the item, the more changes there have been, the more likely it is to be reliable.

All the resources presented by the facilitators (the research process, how to evaluate a source, the animation on the use of logical operators) can be found on the site. http://www.faireunerecherche.fse.ulaval.ca/. To consult!

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