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Comparing Sources: Home

Wikipedia vs. Textboook vs. Database vs. Primary Source vs. Secondary Digital Source


When you read online or print materials, do you make consistent efforts to distinguish between facts, opinions and claims? What kinds of documents are more likely to contain opinions and claims? What kinds are more likely to be fact-based? Are you a skeptical reader or do you generally believe what you read? Would you call yourself an active or a passive reader?

Look for what Wikipedia calls the "verifiability" of information. You should be able to check the material you find against other reliable sources. Content that is likely to be challenged should contain multiple sources of evidence that have been carefully cited.

During this project you will examine a variety of resources focusing on topics in American history. You will practice fact checking and assess you own ability to read actively and skeptically.  You will:

  • Gain insights into the creation of articles on Wikipedia
  • Obtain an understanding of the relationship between Wikipedia and other sources, such as news outlets, other encyclopedias, and academic research
  • Achieve an awareness of the questions of authorship, legitimacy, and reliability raised by different forms of digital publishing
  • mprove research and fact-checking skills
  • Gain review skills
  • Learn how to critically analyze content

Common Core Standards adddressed:

Reading Standards for Informational Text

RI.8.7 – Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using different mediums (e.g., print or digital text, video, multimedia) to present a particular topic or idea.

RI.8.8 – Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; recognize when irrelevant evidence is introduced.

RI.8.9 – Analyze a case in which two or more texts provide conflicting information on the same topic and identify where the texts disagree on matters of fact or interpretation.

Writing Standards

W.8.6 – Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and present the relationships between information and ideas efficiently as well as to interact and collaborate with others.

W.8.7 – Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration.
W.8.8 – Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.

W.8.9 – Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Speaking and Listening Standards

SL.8.4 – Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with relevant evidence, sound valid reasoning, and well-chosen details; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.

SL.8.5 – Integrate multimedia and visual displays into presentations to clarify information, strengthen claims and evidence, and add interest.