Thursday, October 1, 2015

The WebQuest

I created a WebQuest a couple of years ago for another CAE course. It is one of a small handful of assignments I have done in this program that I ultimately put to use in my teaching.  The webquest was used to help students understand the CARS checklist in evaluating the quality of website material for academic use.  Unfortunately, because it was part of an online course, I have never received feedback from students on if they found it useful to help them understand the website evaluation process.  I chose this topic for my webquest assignment because I found students had difficulty identifying the different components of websites for an assignment they had in my scholarly writing course.  We called the assignment a "website evaluation" but what we really wanted them to focus on was, not an entire website, but a particular article on the web that was giving health information. We wanted them to choose an article with content that was not a news article, was not from an academic journal, was not an entire webpage, and was preferably not a PDF publication.  I hoped the webquest would help them wade through the different types of content on the web. 

Now my teaching focus has changed and, among other teaching duties as assigned, I primarily teach a course called research and scholarship in nursing.  I am finding students having a similar struggle with the kind of research related documents out there that they can access about topics.  They have difficulty identifying the difference between qualitative and quantitative research, systematic reviews (meta analysis and synthesis), and just articles written for discussion, opinion, theory, or to provide a summary of information about a topic. 

In a search for research related webquests, I found very little.  This webquest focuses on psychological experiments and how to write up a lab report. This webquest looks specifically at the difference between qualitative and quantitative research.

The webquest I would create to help students recognize the different types of peer reviewed research sources would involve providing them with information about the difference between qualitative and quantitative research.  Knowing the different components to each will help with the recognition process. They also need to have a good understanding of the type of peer review required in academic articles.  I would then ensure they had an understanding of the different formats of systematic review. This table from Duke University gives an excellent summary. Other information that students would require in order to complete the task is understanding how to use the RRC library EBSCO host to search for relevant research materials. 

The main portion of the webquest would present students with actual peer reviewed article examples and ask them to identify them as qualitative primary studies, quantitative primary studies, a type of systematic review (and what type), and articles written to be informative.  I could also challenge them by throwing in the occasional non peer reviewed source. 

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