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SLO 4: What Shapes Information?

Students examine how information changes over time in order to determine the values, perspectives, and processes that shape it.

Discussion Prompts

For more examples of how to stretch students’ understanding of data and visualizations, see Teaching with Data: Visualization and Information as a Critical Process

Class Activities

  • Pick an event that occurred at least one year ago (e.g., the Flint Michigan water crisis). Students should be familiar with the event, but it should not be so recent that scholarly sources have not yet addressed it. Split students into group of three or four, and provide each group with one source that addresses the event. Each group should be given a source that was created at a different moment following the event. Sources might include:
    • Tweet or Facebook post
    • Newspaper or magazine article
    • News broadcast
    • Scholarly journal article
    • Scholarly book
    • Popular book
    • Documentary film

Student groups ought to then consider the values, perspectives, and processes (e.g., the lack of editorial process for Tweets or the peer review process for a scholarly journal article) that shaped their information source. Groups then share their findings with the whole group – consider asking students to use the information cycle graphic (below) to capture the conversation that follows. Following presentations, the whole group ought to reflect upon the ways in which the discourse surrounding the event has changed over time.

Did You Know?

Pfau Library Videos

Related Resources

Peer Review

The Peer Review Process infographic

how to spot fake news: consider the source, check the author, date, your biases, read beyond, supporting sources?, is it a joke?, ask the experts

How to Spot Fake News graphic


The Information Cycle

Information Cycle graphic

LibGuide: Fake News & Fact Checking

TedEd video: How to Spot a Misleading Graph

Open Access E-book: Journalism, ‘Fake News’ and Disinformation: A Handbook for Journalism Education and Training

LibGuide: Publishing a Scholarly Article

Science Information Life Cycle – University of California Irvine (CC-NC-SA 3.0)

Check out the discussion prompts and activities for SLO 3: Popular and Scholarly Sources

Last updated 2018