Inquiry Question: How can students tell the difference between primary and secondary sources and determine if these sources are valid and/or biased?
Standards and Skills:
From DC Standards
Historical and Social Sciences Analysis Skills: Historical Evidence, Research and Point of View Grades 9-12
1. Students distinguish valid arguments from fallacious arguments in historical interpretations (e.g., appeal to false authority, unconfirmed citations, ad hominem argument, appeal to popular opinion).
2. Students identify bias and prejudice in historical interpretations.
3. Students evaluate major debates among historians concerning alternative interpretations of the past, including an analysis of authors’ use of evidence and the distinctions between sound generalizations and misleading oversimplifications.
4. Students construct and test hypotheses; collect, evaluate, and employ information from multiple primary and secondary sources; and apply it in oral and written presentations.
Historical and Social Sciences Analysis Skills: Chronological and Historical Interpretation Grades 6-8
11. Students distinguish relevant from irrelevant information, essential from incidental information, and verifiable from unverifiable information in historical narratives and stories.
12. Students assess the credibility of primary and secondary sources, draw sound conclusions from them, and cite sources appropriately.
13. Students assess the credibility and reliability of Internet sources.
14. Students detect the different historical points of view on historical events and determine the context in which the historical statements were made (the questions asked, sources used, and author’s perspectives).
Students will be able to state ways to identify primary and secondary sources and will provide examples of primary and secondary sources.
Students will be able to look at samples of resources they might use and identify it the item is a primary or secondary source.
Students will be able to provide examples of websites that normally provide high quality primary and secondary sources.
Students will be able to explain the ways to examine a website to determine if the website provides valid resources.
Students will be able to identify bogus websites or websites sharing spurious information.
Students will be able to list ways to identify bias in a document or on a web resource and will be able to show examples in a document.
Context for Task
Students will be doing research for a debate (the final assessment for the full unit) which will include providing an annotated bibliography including both primary and secondary sources. Students must learn how to identify resources that will help them complete their research or they will not be successful in locating resources that will help them to effectively debate an opponent or answer questions about their person presented by the panel of judges. They must understand that most resources have a bias and that not all material presented on the internet is valid.
Products and Performances for the Assessment Task
Students will need to provide a draft annotated bibliography at the end of this particular task indicating the resources they have found this far in preparation for the debate. This will allow the instructor to see if they have found appropriate resources and understand the concepts provided in this particular section of the unit. In addition their performance in the debate will provide an indicator of how much information they have found and if the information was valid or not.
Compare/Contrast Primary and Secondary Sources.
Explain why one must use secondary sources when doing research.
Students will be given an example of a website. They must show whether or not the website is valid and explain their reasons for their decision.
Students will be given an example of a document with a specific bias. They must identify if they item is biased or not and defend their decision.
Criteria for Evaluating Student Performance and Student Products
An excellent student will be able to easily distinguish between primary and secondary sources. He or she will be able to explain how to determine if a website is biased and whether or not the website is valid or not. The student will consistently be able to identify valid websites and determine the bias found in documents or on website at least 90% of the time.
An average student will be able to tell the difference between primary and secondary sources at least 70% of the time. He or she may be able to explain how to determine if a website is valid or not but may not always be able to consistently determine the validity or bias found on a website or in a document.
A failing student will be unable to distinguish between primary and secondary sources. He or she will not be able to identify between valid or invalid web resources and unable to determine the bias of a document or website.
Example of Exemplary Response or Product