Students learn how to research at ‘The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly’ workshop

Austin Quintero

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The Moffett Library workshop “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” at which students can learn how and where to look for research information and what information is good to use, ended on Oct. 2.

Among the iPhones, androids, tablets and every other computer system available to students, acquiring information has become easier and faster than ever before.

However, according to library employees, what students fail to realize is that not all information is good.

“The world is full of information, however not all is valid, useful, or accurate. Your generation is bombarded with information,” Reference Librarian Allison Breen said. “Because of this, evaluating research and information is a big deal nowadays.”

One common method of research adopted by most students is the internet. While the internet is packed full of information, students can be overly attached to finding things easily with the click-of-a-button.

“Evaluation is a learnable skill,” Breen said, “It’s an art as well as work, much of which is detective work.”

There are four areas of research material, citations, books, periodicals and ‘things on the internet,’” Breen said.

Apart from the internet and books, the two other sources can be foreign to some students: A citation is a quotation from or reference to a book, paper, or author, usually in scholarly work, and a periodical is a published magazine newspaper of any kind.

When it comes to the four research sources, specific details need to be taken into account, she said.

“For example, when evaluating a book of periodical certain questions need to be asked,” Breen said. “Who is the author, who is the publisher, and how timely is the information? What is the book’s purpose and why should I believe it?”

To address these issues concerning an internet source, Breen developed a different approach, the CRAP test — Currency, Reliability, Authority and Purpose. The test brings to light how easy it is to mistake good information from bad on the internet.

According to Breen, “the good, the bad, and the ugly” workshop is one of the more popular workshops among students and she plans to hold the workshop again in the spring semester.

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