Evaluating Claims - Pseudoscience and Conspiracy Theories

For a performance task/ assignment, students will be expected to find evidence to investigate a pseudoscientific claim or conspiracy theory. They will be submitting a two-page paper to their Chemistry professor in which they make a case that either supports the claim or rejects it. They will be expected to use both library and credible online sources for support. 

The performance task will follow a full 75-minute library instruction session in which students will learn to:

  • construct various search phrases for use in online and library search tools  
  • use certain evaluation criteria (e.g. CRAAP) to assess the credibility of online sources  
  • examine sources for relevance to their research question and search need (specifically, to determine credibility of claims)

Throughout the class, an example claim will be used for searches. Either one of the following is recommended:

  • Feng Shui – or the arrangement of furniture according to Chinese philosophy – can positively or negatively impact your wealth, health, happiness, and prosperity.
  • President John F. Kennedy was not assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald – or his assassination is the result of a conspiracy of various entities and agents. 

Materials included:

  • The full sequenced instruction outline for the face-to-face library instruction session. 
  • The assignment prompt for the performance task. 
  • CRAAP handout. 
Evaluating_Claims_FB_Prompt.docxDownloaded 882 times Evaluating_Claims_FB_Fulllesson.docxDownloaded 779 times Internet Sources CRAAP.pdfDownloaded 783 times

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License Assigned: 
CC Attribution License CC-BY