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Posts Tagged ‘ProQuest Research Companion’

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.

Find Primary Sources in ProQuest’s Guided Research Resources

Educators need to prepare students with information literacy and learning skills for college and the global marketplace. Common Core State Standards address this need through an emphasis on students’ ability to read and understand informational text. Standards require students to learn how to analyze text, make inferences, cite evidence, interpret vocabulary, and determine authoritative sources.

As students learn how to analyze sources, primary sources are key tools to help them learn to ask questions, think critically, and draw conclusions based on evidence.

ProQuest’s suite of Guided Research resources is your solution to prepare students to think critically with a wealth of primary and secondary sources.

ProQuest Research Companion

 

Start with ProQuest Research Companion to access 80+ short videos, nine learning modules, and assessment quizzes to teach students everything they need to know to be information literate and ready to research. For a lesson on primary sources, use this short video on primary and secondary sources.


 CultureGrams

CultureGrams Interview

Interview transcript of Hawa from Djibouti.
Image via CultureGrams.

CultureGrams is a primary source product with editions (World, States, Kids, and Provinces) that offer profiles of countries, U.S. states, and Canadian provinces. CultureGrams editors recruit native or long-term residents of the target culture to serve as writers and/or reviewers for each report, ensuring all reports are first-hand accounts and therefore primary sources. Also see supplementary features that provide more primary source material through photos, videos, interviews, statistics, and recipes.


 eLibrary

platform shoes

Video clip from 1973 chronicles the fashion “craze” of the platform shoe
and warns of the shoe’s dangers to feet and legs.
Source: MPI Video via ProQuest eLibrary

Besides a treasure trove of secondary sources and editor-created Research Topics, eLibrary offers collections of primary sources. A History in Documents (Oxford University Press) present a mixture of textual and visual primary source documents. MPI Videos provide insights into topics as diverse as world affairs, fashion, sports, and the arts from various periods in the twentieth century. And the Getty Historical Image collection highlights hundreds of iconic images from the twentieth century.


SIRS Issues Researcher

Primary sources can be narrowed in the results list. Image via ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher.

SIRS Issues Researcher is the premier source for background and analysis of nearly 350 Leading Issues. Analysis and background include primary sources. Start with the SIRS Common Core Guide: Understanding Primary Sources, the step-by-step activity guide to help students analyze primary sources. Every search result can be narrowed by primary sources to find historical documents, speeches, editorial cartoons, and more.


 SIRS Discoverer

editorial cartoons

In the News, a monthly editorial cartoon feature in Spotlight of the Month
Image via ProQuest SIRS Discoverer.

As an online reference source for elementary and middle school, SIRS Discoverer offers primary and secondary sources at a lower reading level than SIRS Issues Researcher, its sister product. Each document is hand-selected at an appropriate Lexile level for its target audience. Access historical primary source maps, graphs, and images in the graphics tab of any search. Find engaging editorial cartoons in the activities section, through search, and via the Spotlight of the Month.

Contact us for more information on how these Guided Research resources can fill your primary source needs or sign up for one of our free monthly webinars.

ProQuest Research Companion Is Nominated for TWO CODiE Awards!

ProQuest Research Companion has been nominated for two SIIA CODiE Awards under the categories of Best Reading/English/Language Arts Instructional Solution and Best Source for Reference or Education Resources.

The SIIA CODiE Awards, now in their twenty-ninth year, hold the distinction of being the industry’s only peer-reviewed awards program.

CODiE_2015_finalist_black

Judges with considerable industry expertise carefully evaluate each product using rigorous category-specific criteria. Winners of the respective categories will be announced at SIIA’s education technology conference in May and the information industry summit in June.

ProQuest is grateful for industry recognition of its flagship information literacy product. Another recent recognition was in the February 2015 edition of School Library Journal where ProQuest Research Companion was honored as as a Best Database by Mahnaz Dar, associate editor.

Research Companion was built to help students do more effective scholarly research and to support educators as they teach the core information literacy principles of finding, evaluating, and using information.

Check out the ProQuest Research Companion YouTube channel to see how this informational literacy product can benefit you!

5 ProQuest Resources for Research Paper Season

Research paper season is in full swing at high schools across the country. ProQuest offers many resources across various products to make this time of year less stressful for students and education professionals. Let’s take a look at five popular features.




1. The Educator Activities Pinterest Board  pulls together resources from numerous ProQuest products to offer teachers activities and worksheets that can be used in the classroom. From Science Experiments to Common Core Handouts, all facets of the research spectrum are covered.

2. ProQuest Research Companion is an entire product dedicated to guiding students through the research process and helping them develop critical thinking and information literacy skills. Nine Learning Modules provide answers to questions such as “How do I choose a topic?” and “How do I evaluate resources?”

iThink Skills Tutor on ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher

iThink Skills Tutor on ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher

3.  The Student Tools section in SIRS Issues Researcher highlights two features to help users conduct research. My Analysis breaks the research and writing process down into six easy to follow steps, while the iThink tutor is an interactive tool to assist users on their research path.

4.  In addition to the Student Tools offered in SIRS Issues Researcher, the Educators’ Resources section provides a number of handouts and videos that can be used in the classroom. The Human Element video and the SIRS vs. Google and the Open Web activity demonstrate the editorial advantage of using a database like SIRS.

5.  Once students have selected a topic, they can turn to SIRS Issues Researcher or eLibrary for comprehensive coverage. Leading Issues in SIRS Issues Researcher provides background and current analysis of social issues through Topic Overviews, Essential Questions and viewpoint articles. Research Topics in eLibrary pull together content on a particular issue, event or person to save users time in the research process.

These are just a handful of the products and features ProQuest offers to make completing that research paper a little less stressful.

Which features do you find the most useful? Comment below or tweet us at #ProQuest.

School Library Journal Says Research Companion is “Must Have”

In the FeProQuest Research Companion Logobruary 2015 issue of School Library Journal, Mahnaz Dar,  an associate editor at the magazine, honored ProQuest Research Companion as a Best Database.  Dar characterized the product as a “must have” and went on to say that Research Companion should be a “staple of any high school library.”

ProQuest is grateful for industry recognition of its flagship information literacy product. Research Companion was built to help students do more effective scholarly research and to support educators as they teach the core information literacy principles of finding, evaluating, and using information.

For a complete and detailed demo of Research Companion, visit ProQuest’s YouTube channel.

ProQuest Research Companion Winner at ISTE 2014

On June 29-July 1, 2014, ed tech professionals, educators and administrators stormed Atlanta, GA, for the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) annual conference. ProQuest was there in the middle of all the action in Hot lanta showcasing our newest product: ProQuest Research Companion. Our new product was not only welcomed but recognized!

The influential trade publication Tech & Learning named Research Companion Best of Show. The award was made on the basis of its “quality and effectiveness,” “ease of use,” and for its “creative use of technology.”

So what made ProQuest Research Companion stand out at ISTE?

Adam Blackwell

Product Manager Adam Blackwell at ISTE 2014
proudly displaying the Best of Show award. (Credit: ProQuest)

No, it wasn’t the suave British accent of its Product Manager, Adam Blackwell. Although, that didn’t hurt either!

ProQuest Research Companion shines because it was created directly based on feedback from you–the educator. You told us you needed help teaching students how to research, select sources, evaluate web sites, cite their work and in general be information literate. And you needed this in a way that could be flipped, mobile-ready, standards-aligned, personalized, and assessed.

We heard you and created 100 proprietary videos with assessment questions that guide users step by step through the research process and five interactive tools that automate important research tasks like evaluating sources by drawing on a huge powerhouse of data exclusive to ProQuest.

The buzz has started. Don’t take our word for it! Check out the feedback we’ve received from customers and users so far:

tweet

“we have a chapter in our book that covers a lot of the same material, but the kids seem to like the videos”

“really good examples and such that reinforce what I teach my seniors already”

“the interface is very clean and attractive”

“good to assign the videos for homework and use them for class discussion the next day”

“wow! It’s pretty snappy, very responsive and quick.”

“I’d be thrilled to integrate these videos into my online course. Thrilled. I can put all this stuff in writing, but they miss so much information when it’s presented almost solely through text.”

“I love this tutorial. It’s pretty much what I talk about in a classroom setting and would be perfect for online classes.”

“my immediate thought was this would be great for a parent!”

Try ProQuest Research Companion for yourself. Sign up for a free trial today!

Fear Blank Pages No More!

The New Year is here. If one of your resolutions is to make research easier, take a look at our newest product: ProQuest Research Companion.

pqrc

Credit: ProQuest

In the age of readily-available information, researchers often find themselves staring at a blank page. Many students say that the most difficult part of their research assignment is just getting started.

Likewise, librarians and educators often don’t have more than brief “one shot” sessions with students to teach them the effective research skills necessary to be successful in their academic research.

How could this logjam break free?

Let ProQuest Research Companion guide the way through practical tools and learning videos.

Learn more at the Product Research Companion product page.

Or better yet, try it for yourself with a free trial.

 

 

Evidence. . .Common Core Emphasizes Evidence. But Where Do I Start?

ResCompanion2

Consider ProQuest’s All-New Research Companion“!  It’s all about information literacy.  Learn how to effectively and properly find, evaluate, and use information through text, video tutorials, and customized tools.

K12 Team 2Learn how all of our ProQuest research tools — like Research Companion — are essential in support of Curriculum Standards and Student Achievement.

Contact our K-12 training team to arrange a no-cost meeting at your convenience, focused on your ProQuest resources with their Common Core and curriculum connections.

Or, look here for monthly 30-minute resource overviews on your favorite ProQuest research solutions.

Would you like an attendance certificate?  We’ll provide one — just ask!