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secondary sources

Engaging Students: Using the MLA International Bibliography to Teach the Research Process

This is a recorded webcast presentation featuring tips on using the MLA International Bibliography to teach scholarly research concepts and analytical skills.

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Information Literacy Frame(s) Addressed:

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MLA International Bibliography Tutorial Videos

The MLA provides short tutorial videos that help users make the most of the bibliography’s rich metadata and its advanced searching and filtering features. New and updated tutorials are released throughout the year.If you have a suggestion for a topic that you would like to see covered in a tutorial, please let us know by sending an e-mail to bibliography@mla.org.

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Understanding the MLA International Bibliography: An Online Course

The MLA has developed an online course to teach students how to use the MLA International Bibliography for college-level research. Each of the five units in the course presents a lesson, followed by progression questions to reinforce the lesson through active engagement with the bibliography, and a quiz.  Students will receive a badge upon passing each quiz and a course-completion badge after completing all the lessons and passing all five quizzes.The course usually takes students ninety minutes or less to complete and requires that they have access to the MLA International Bibliography on the EBSCO platform through their institution’s library. Students can create a free account to take the course and start earning badges.In January 2018, the MLA launched four new subject area modules to accompany its online course Understanding the MLA International Bibliography. Each module focuses on searching the bibliography for scholarly publications in one of four disciplines: folklore, linguistics, film (including television, video, and other broadcast media), and rhetoric and composition. Students who complete the new modules can earn badges in each of these four subject areas. Visit the course site to access the main course and new modules.Interested in other resources for teaching research and information literacy? Visit the Teaching Resources page on The MLA Style Center, where you’ll find lesson plans, assignments, and an instructor’s guide to integrating the online course into class curricula.

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The Sorting Machine

A classroom activity and lesson plan for first-year students. Your students will learn to differentiate between different categories of items -- such as Popular/Scholarly, or Primary/Secondary/Tertiary -- by playing this fun and easy game.

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Not Discipline Specific
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CC Attribution License CC-BY

Matters of Authority

This lesson starts with a simple question: "Who knows the most about (topic of your choice)?" In my experience doing this lesson with first year students, a majority of students will identify personal experience as knowing the "most" at the outset. It is common for them to say something along the lines of: No one understands what it’s like to be homeless more than someone who has been through it. Starting from that firm conviction, this lesson is designed to help students think about different ways of “knowing” and what secondary sources (particularly scholarly) are able to accomplish in providing analysis, context, and scope. Learning outcomes: Students will be able to articulate multiple ways in which authority can be ascribed [Authority is Constructed and Contextual]Students will be able to identify primary and secondary sources / scholarly and popular sources and how they are linked to each other [Scholarship is Conversation]Students will seek a variety of source formats and perspectives in their own work [Information has value]

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Discipline(s): 
Multidisciplinary
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The Information Life Cycle

This handout informs students about the life cycle of information, directing them where to look based on when the even under research happened.  Additionally, a sample research plan is presented.

Information Literacy Frame(s) Addressed:

Discipline(s): 
Interdisciplinary
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CC Attribution-NonCommercial License CC-BY-NC