Modern Day Research

Jane is working on a research paper on emigrating to Canada.

“Hey! Isn’t this lucky?! I just found this thing that asked ‘what are some bad things about moving to Canada?’ and I’m supposed to list pros and cons on moving to Canada!”

I looked at the computer screen to see that she was looking at Yahoo! Answers.

“Um. I don’t know that I’d trust those as facts. That’s just someone’s opinion.” I scanned down the page. “See, they list tornadoes and stuff but then admit that there’s fewer natural disasters there than here.”

“Well, then where am I supposed to look?!”

“Why don’t you look at the Wikipedia page on Canada?”

“We can’t use Wikipedia.”

“Why not?”

“Because anyone can edit Wikipedia.”

“Not true,” Daddy jumped in. “Articles on Wikipedia are reviewed by the staff.”

“Well, not necessarily the staff. It could be volunteers. But it’s written and maintained by a group of people working to keep it as accurate as possible. At any rate, it certainly beats Yahoo! Answers,” I added, “where any yahoo…”

“…can answer,” he finished. “If you can’t use Wikipedia, what are you supposed to use?”

“The internet.”

I am amused that the teacher felt the need to steer them away from Wikipedia but failed to steer them toward something more reliable. I wonder how many other students are writing their papers based on blogs and question and answer sites. Or maybe they are taking a poll on Facebook. After all, the assignment said to use the internet.

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2 thoughts on “Modern Day Research

  1. I have a few suggestions, assuming the assignment isn’t due already. She could look at Wikipedia to find the article’s sources and follow the source trail. She could look at a Canadian tourism site. She could look at a US government site on immigration statistics. The US government also has tourism sites for lots of different countries.

    This is a lot, however, for one pre-teen to think of on her own.

    • Yes, definitely not what you’d expect a tween to figure out on her own. A coworker had the same good suggestion about the references on Wikipedia. She apparently had gotten some information from Canada’s tourism site. I’m not sure if she’s already turned it in or not.

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