ERIC Number: EJ919776
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Reference Count: 0
Truth in Urban Legends? Using Snopes.com to Teach Source Evaluation
DeGroot, Jocelyn M.
Communication Teacher, v25 n2 p86-89 2011
Information spreads online at a much faster rate than ever before, often without being confirmed by trustworthy sources. Students must be able to evaluate the online source and the online source's information for accuracy and credibility. In public speaking, argumentation, and persuasion classes (among others), students are taught to use confirmed evidence from credible sources to support their claims or arguments. Credible sources that provide accurate information are important to use in presentations and essays, as the audience often finds evidence from qualified sources to be more persuasive than evidence from non-trustworthy sources. Given the pervasiveness of the Internet for research in communication classes, it is important for students to understand how to evaluate online sources. This activity utilizes the Snopes.com website to demonstrate the accuracy (or inaccuracy) of widespread information that is generally accepted to be true. Researchers at Snopes.com attempt to debunk or confirm common urban legends, fallacies, old wives' tales, folklore, outlandish news stories, rumors, celebrity gossip, and other well-known information. When validating or discrediting well-known narratives, the researchers provide additional sources to support their decision about the narratives' authenticity. To explore the believability of widespread, unconfirmed anecdotes, students analyze and evaluate commonly accepted narratives and urban legends found on the Snopes.com website. Examining the content and sources from familiar stories will help students better understand the reality of widespread inaccuracies online and encourage students' critical analysis of online information and sources for future papers and presentations. A list of references and suggested readings is included.
Descriptors: Evidence, Communication Research, Internet, Online Searching, Electronic Publishing, Information Literacy, Information Skills, Class Activities, Learning Activities, Instructional Design, Instructional Material Evaluation, Misconceptions, Computer Software, Search Strategies
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A