In this activity, students will become familiar with strategies they can use in their academic and personal lives by practicing evaluating sources for authority, accuracy, currency, relevance, and objectivity.
Students may complete this activity individually or in small groups. Students will analyze the ProCon page, Should Students Have to Wear School Uniforms? and a contrasting source of your choice for authority, accuracy, currency, relevance, and objectivity. For an overview of these evaluation criteria and how they can be used, students may view this video on Evaluating Sources.
Authority - Begin by presenting the ProCon page and your select source side by side. Ask students to identify the author or organization responsible for the content. Students may then conduct a brief search on each of the creators to determine their expertise on the subject.
Accuracy - Ask students to discuss the value of accurate information. Show students how to locate the sources used in the ProCon topic page using the Dig Deeper link. Students will then verify facts in the contrasting sources by locating the original sources of information.
Currency - Ask students why the most current information is important to their research. Next, ask students when older or historic information may be useful when discussing a current issue. Use footnotes 12 and 13 (Starr, 1998 and Chaika, 1999) in Pro Argument 9 and Con Argument 9 to illustrate how seemingly outdated information can help add context to a current scientific issue.
Relevance - Ask students to explain how they would use the ProCon page and the contrasting source to answer the research question: how do school uniforms impact students’ sense of personal identity? Students may brainstorm additional information they would need to fully answer their research question.
Objectivity - Begin by reviewing the characteristics of an objective source. Next, ask students to identify the point of view presented by the two sources. Students should be able to discuss the presence or absence of bias in the authors’ writing.
ProCon.org Topic: Can be adapted to any ProCon.org topic.
Subjects: Communication, Media Literacy, Composition
Common Core Anchor Standards: CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.6, CCRA.R.8, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.4, CCRA.W.10
Common Core Content Standards: RI.1, RI.6, RI.8, W.2, RH.8