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Archive for the ‘ProQuest Research Companion’ Category

Fake News & the Importance of Information Literacy

 “If you have a society where people can’t agree on basic facts,
how do you have a functioning democracy?”
Washington Post Executive Editor Martin Baron

ProQuest recently surveyed 217 librarians from university, community college, high school and public libraries in North America for their views and insights on information literacy. While 83% of librarians surveyed agree that information literacy affects college graduation rates and 97% believe that it contributes to success in the workforce, only 21% think that their users recognize information literacy’s effect on lifelong success, and 44% believe that their library does not support information literacy instruction as much as it should. Read a report on the full results of ProQuest’s 2016 Information Literacy Survey.

 What Is Fake News?

Although there are many definitions of fake news, the main characteristic is that it is created with an intent to deceive or mislead. Many fake news items are either largely or completely fictitious, and deliberately so. These stories imitate the look and style of real news articles, and they are published on sites designed to imitate established newspaper websites or political blogs, often with closely-related, similar or slightly misspelled domain names.

Melissa Zimdars, an associate professor of communication and media at Merrimack College in Massachusetts, compiled a list of websites that either purposely publish false information or are otherwise entirely unreliable. She tags the sites by category–false, misleading, unreliable, clickbait, satire, bias, hate, conspiracy theories, junk science, or sometimes a combination of several categories.

How Does Fake News Spread?

Most web publishers define their success by the amount of traffic their sites receive. They use this information to attract and bill advertisers based on the numbers of “clicks” or “hits” their site generates. Sometimes, the factual information or foundation of the article is not as important as the number of page views, because these can be used to generate more revenue from potential advertisers.

News sharing has become popular because people affirm their identities and affiliations by posting links to articles that reflect and support their own existing opinions and beliefs, and fake news stories are often strongly biased. Sometimes a story that was intended as satire circulates as factual information, or false information can originate when regular people who are misinformed post on social media sites. Web site owners can also pay a fee to have their site’s search results shown in top placement on the results page of different search engines.

Sharing fake news articles pushes them higher up in search result pages, causing others to come across them quickly and trust the content. This is supported by a study conducted at Northwestern University, where 102 college students went online to answer questions about topics relevant to them. How did the students assess the credibility of online content? When using a search engine, many students clicked on the first search result. They ignored the sponsoring organization and the article’s author, blindly trusting the search engine to put the most reliable results first.

Why Is Fake News Harmful?

Prior to the internet age, people relied on information in printed form–newspapers, magazines, journals, books, encyclopedias–or they watched the nightly television news. Doing any type of extensive research usually required a trip to the library to find the resources needed. The internet and social media have made it far easier for powerful entities to directly and quickly spread false or misleading information far and wide. One of the most troubling and dangerous aspects of fake news is the prevalence of private groups pushing their own agendas under the appearance of seemingly unbiased news.

An analysis by the digital media powerhouse BuzzFeed News found that top fake election news stories generated more total engagement on Facebook during the final three months of the 2016 presidential election campaign than reports from 19 major news outlets (including the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, NBC News) combined.

The recent rise in fake news sites underscores the importance of teaching students independent research and critical thinking skills. It’s not enough to tell them to only use the school’s databases–they must learn how to evaluate the sources they find in the collective media sphere, including both print and digital sources. In its position statement on media literacy, the National Council for the Social Studies, an organization that supports social studies education in U.S. K-12 and higher education, argues that it’s important that students be able to “ask key questions, compare competing claims, assess credibility, and reflect on one’s own process of reasoning,” whether they are reading a printed book, a newspaper article or a Facebook post.

Are your students equipped with the information literacy skills to identify fake news? ProQuest Guided Research products equip students to learn information literacy skills. Free trials are available.

Fake News: Teaching Students to Evaluate Sources

In an era where students search for information online via search engines and social media, they need the ability to identify and distinguish reputable sources from deceptive sources. In other words, they need to be able to tell the difference between real and fake news. A November 2016 study from Stanford researchers has concluded that students are not prepared.

Our “digital natives” may be able to flit between Facebook and Twitter while simultaneously uploading a selfie to Instagram and texting a friend. But when it comes to evaluating information that flows through social media channels, they are easily duped.--“Evaluating Information: The Cornerstone of Civic Online Reasoning,” Stanford History Education Group

Source Evaluation Aid Available in ProQuest Research Companion

Source Evaluation Aid Available in ProQuest Research Companion

ProQuest Research Companion is here to help. Equip students with information literacy skills through self-paced learning modules, assessments, and tools such as the Source Evaluation Aid. The embedded video above is an example of the material available in the evaluating sources learning module.

ProQuest’s Guided Research products such as CultureGrams, eLibrary, and SIRS Issues Researcher offer authoritative content that is vetted and packaged for middle and high school students. Besides reliable information and tools, you can also find supplementary handouts to guide students step by step such as the SIRS Issues Researcher: Research Guide for the Critical Thinker.

Don’t have ProQuest Research Companion or other Guided Research products? Request a Free Trial!

Training for Your ProQuest Resources

Libraries see surge in e-book demandDon’t forget that ProQuest provides free training.  Our Training and Consulting Partners team is available at any time to meet with you via a privately scheduled webinar.  Just email us to make an inquiry.  We also provide regularly scheduled public webinars.  You can contact our team to discuss your questions about ProQuest resources, and we are also happy to focus privately scheduled sessions on topic areas of particular interest to you. 

This is just one of the many benefits you derive from licensure to your ProQuest resources!

 

A Fresh Crop of ProQuest Research Topics

We’ve had a downright tropical environment in Louisville this summer, giving us the ideal conditions for growing Research Topic pages! There are 80 new pages since the end of last school year, covering topics like the Juno and Galileo missions to Jupiter, America’s role in World War I, the Brexit, and of course, Pokémon GO.

Research Topics are a great tool for student research, offering a wealth of editorially-curated articles, pictures, video, and websites to supplement study units throughout the year. With 11,000 Research Topics, chances are we have what you need!

Click on the video below to learn the different ways to discover the Research Topic you’re looking for:

 

Information Literacy Along with Information Resources

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ProQuest Research Companion was developed to address the need of teaching information literacy and research skills to students, thus helping them take better advantage of your library’s information resources and at the same time providing them with lifetime learning skills. One of the best parts about ProQuest Research Companion is that it is flexible.  You may choose to use it simply as a reference tool, the sections of which may be accessed at will for instruction or support, or you may set it up so that individuals may progress through its organized construction and monitor their progress.  You may support your existing research skills materials and reference resources by connecting to them from within ProQuest Research Companion, or you may pull the instructional sections out of ProQuest Research Companion and incorporate them with your outside information literacy instructional content.  The idea is to make it adaptable for you, so that you can maximize its benefit for your students.

Join the ProQuest Training and Consulting team to learn more about ProQuest Research Companion as well as all of your other ProQuest resources.  You may sign up for one of our public webinars at any time.  If you don’t see the webinar or time you’re looking for, you are always welcome to contact us to arrange a private session.

April Training Webinars Posted

Libraries see surge in e-book demandNow’s a great time to catch up on the important elements of your ProQuest K-12 resources. We’ve posted our April webinars and would like to invite you to join us. Share this information also with some of your key faculty who you know would benefit from greater familiarity with your excellent ProQuest library research and learning tools. Our new public webinar page also expands your view of ProQuest possibilities. Not only may you access training for your K-12 focused resources, but you may also learn more about ProQuest’s full array of research and learning tools. Many of these have potential application in advanced secondary learning environments.

Sign up now for a class of your choice. If you don’t see the resource you’re looking for, contact us and we would be happy to schedule a private webinar with you!

What’s the Latest?

Schools Training Page

“What’s the Latest?” is a big question, actually.  In the research database world, everything is dynamic and constantly changing and updating.  In 2015, ProQuest SIRS Discoverer was all new.  ProQuest CultureGrams also received new looks — twice during the year — once over the summer, and again last month in December.  Content is continually being updated as well.  Most recently, we moved our “offices” — online, that is.  You have a new place to log into your ProQuest K-12 resources, and the training team has a new place for you to go to join us for training.  Sounds like a great time to get to know your resources even better!

Contact the ProQuest Training and Consulting Team to learn all about what’s new and what’s so important about your ProQuest resources. You can contact us directly to arrange a free meeting or join us in one of our public webinars, as noted above. We’re happy to answer your questions and help you get a great start to the second half of this academic year!

Arrange Training Just For Your School

Trending Leading IssuesThe ProQuest Training and Consulting Partners don’t provide only pre-recorded training videos or public webinars. We are also available to arrange training directly with your school to meet your local needs. Our privately arranged training is available to any licensed ProQuest customer at no cost. We are happy to discuss unique interests and needs you’d like to cover, and you can invite faculty and staff members to join. To get started, just email the Training and Consulting Partners at training@proquest.com . We’ll respond back to you and work to get everything arranged!

If public webinars are all that’s needed to meet your needs, visit us at www.proquest.com/go/webinars.

New User Interfaces Are Here — Learn About Them With The Training Team

New UIs 2015

It’s official:  The NEWLY UPGRADED user interfaces for ProQuest, CultureGrams, and SIRS Discoverer are now up and running.  There’s no better time to learn about all of the changes and see how they can help make research a successful experience for learners at all levels.

You can see and learn more about all of these new changes, and all of your other ProQuest resources by joining the Training and Consulting Partners in one of our free monthly webinars. Alternately, you can contact us directly to get some one-on-one time or to schedule time for a group of educators in your school or district. There’s a lot of great things to learn this year — join us and we’ll keep you up-to-date!

New User Interfaces Are Here — Learn About Them With The Training Team

New UIs 2015

It’s official:  The NEWLY UPGRADED user interfaces for ProQuest, CultureGrams, and SIRS Discoverer are now up and running.  There’s no better time to learn about all of the changes and see how they can help make research a successful experience for learners at all levels.

You can see and learn more about all of these new changes, and all of your other ProQuest resources by joining the Training and Consulting Partners in one of our free monthly webinars. Alternately, you can contact us directly to get some one-on-one time or to schedule time for a group of educators in your school or district. There’s a lot of great things to learn this year — join us and we’ll keep you up-to-date!

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