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Information discernment, mis-information and pro-active scepticism

Walton, G and Pickard, AJ and Dodd, L (2018) Information discernment, mis-information and pro-active scepticism. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 50 (3). pp. 296-309. ISSN 0961-0006

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Abstract

A participatory action research approach was employed to investigate school students’ information discernment capabilities. Placing school student participants at the centre of the research process enabled them to define the problem in their own words and begin to find solutions to the issue of how to choose good quality information. Findings confirmed the results of many studies - that school students adopt a cognitive default position of trust and are relatively unquestioning when using information sources for their work (in this case the Extended Project Qualification or EPQ). Results also showed that with an appropriate embedded learning and teaching intervention, which includes aspects of information and digital literacy, school students adopt a cognitive questioning state, which leads to pro-active scepticism, enhancing their information discernment and in turn enables them to make better information choices. This has implications not only for school teachers and librarians but for educational policy makers also.

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