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“Just the Facts, Ma’am”: Evaluating Sources

Life Skills:

  • Thinking & Reasoning
  • Communication

Curriculum Tie:

Time Frame:
1 class period that runs 90 minutes.

Group Size:
Large Groups



In the Library Learning Center, students will learn searching strategies to find valid and relevant articles in EBSCO, Gale and Google Scholar.

  • Using the 5 Ws of website evaluation (Who, What, When, Where and Why), students will evaluate 7 websites and complete a Website Evaluation graphic organizer.
  • Students will be given 8 resources about a common current event topic (in our case, the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union), and are required to evaluate and rank the websites according to credibility and write a short defense of the ranking. (The sources used are from Wikipedia, EBSCO, Google Scholar, Gale, Newspapers, Blog Posts).

Note: This assignment is part of a weekly exercise done every Friday in an AP class.

Main Curriculum Tie:
Secondary Library Media (6-12)
Strand 5: Standard 1

Engage with information by reading, listening, and viewing sources in a variety of formats.


  • Specific Websites to Evaluate (Brexit list is below).
  • Website Evaluation (website link below listed as the 5 W's of Website Credibility).


Web Sites

Background For Teachers:
Familiarity with resources in Utah’s Online Library, Google Scholar and the Internet, advanced searching techniques, and website evaluation strategies.

Student Prior Knowledge:

  • Computer Skills
  • Basic comprehension strategies for non-fiction text
  • Chosen Current Event topic

Intended Learning Outcomes:
AP Students will be able to access and analyze informational text within various databases using Utah Online Library resources, Google Scholar and Internet websites.

AP Students will be able to evaluate the bias and credibility of a variety of on-line informational sources.

AP Students will successfully find, evaluate, cite, and defend the credibility of one printed article.

AP Students will leave with the first week’s assignment completed.

Instructional Procedures:
Instructional Sequence:

  1. Students are shown resources for current events in Utah's Online Library (Gale, EBSCO),Google Scholar and the Internet.
  2. Instruction will be given in advance about Internet searching strategies. Website evaluation strategies using the 5 W’s will be discussed. Students will then evaluate 7 websites from list on Critical Evaluation ( using a graphic organizer.
  3. Students are given list of websites on a contemporary issue (e.g. Brexit) to evaluate in pairs and complete credibility ranking and defense graphic organizer.
  4. Students will research their selected topic and print a credible article.

Strategies For Diverse Learners:
Number of websites to be assessed with the 5 Ws can be reduced.

Students can apply the 5 Ws criteria to additional websites of their choice during the class period once the assignment is done.

Assessment Plan:
Students will be assessed for use of website evaluation language in their defense of website credibility using a rubric.

Exit tickets: Website Evaluation graphic organizer and printed article on individual research topic.


Reviewed by Michelle Miles

Michelle Miles
Brooke Ipson

Created Date :
Sep 08 2016 13:28 PM