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Researchers at Brigham Young University studied first-year students’ information evaluation behaviours of open-access, popular news-based, non-academic source material on a variety of subjects. Using think-aloud protocols and screen-recording, researchers coded most and least used evaluation behaviours. Students most used an article’s sources, previous experience with the source or subject matter, or a bias judgement to decide whether the source was reliable. Researchers also compared what students said was important when evaluating information vs. what behaviours students actually exhibited and found significant differences between the two. Namely, students did not think their previous experience or bias judgement affected the way they assessed sources; however, both behaviours played prominently in their observed source evaluation techniques across the study.
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