Investigating Differing Viewpoints
Students need to be able to (outcomes)
- Investigate differing viewpoints on an issue in order to demonstrate an understanding of diverse opinions
and/or prepare an effective argument
Students need to know (curriculum)
- Why it's important to explore alternative viewpoints
- How to use the library catalog
- How to use the Dewey Decimal System to locate materials
- Which reference books and databases will provide information on differing viewpoints
- How to identify biased information
Learning activities (pedagogy)
- Lecture covering: importance of considering alternative viewpoints in order to develop critical thinking skills; library
catalog, call numbers and locations; specific reference books and databases; identifying bias
- In-class exercise: comparison of sources to identify viewpoints covered
Before-and-after discussion of a topic:
- Prior to library session:
Have students write a short essay on the issues involved in one of the following topics: capital punishment,
illegal immigration, racial or sexual discrimination, environmental protection, gay rights (or other topic).
This could be done in class in a set time period (20-40 minutes). Essays could be turned in to instructor or
saved by students for later comparison.
- After library session:
Students will be given some time (a few or several days) to research the same topic using some or all of the sources
reviewed in the library session. They will then write another essay on the topic, discussing the issues. At the
end of the essay they will answer the following question:
"How has your understanding of the issues involved in this topic changed since your first essay?" Have students
include a bibliography of sources consulted.
- Each student's "after" essay will incorporate several additional viewpoints/opinions not mentioned in the first version.
- Each student's bibliography should include one or more resources that had been reviewed in the lecture.