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Spartan Savvy: Integrative Model for Information Literacy

Activities covering information literacy topics

English Composition Session Lesson Plan


Introduction to the concept of authority.  Discuss strategies for determining source credibility, and for ethically integrating sources into original works.

Activity Time:

45-55 Minutes

Learning Goals: 

Students will be introduced to concept of authority and practice strategies for determining source credibility and ethically using sources.

Description/Lesson Plan:

  • Introduction and Authority 
    • Ask students to complete the Expertise and Authority handout
    • Ask the class:
      • Would someone like to share what they are an expert at and how they got that expertise?
      • How do you evaluate something that isn’t in your area of expertise?
  • Sources and Credibility
    • Provide students with definitions of Authority and Credibility and discuss how using sources is about their credibility, so it is important to know how to integrate sources ethically
  • Ethical use of Sources
    • Ask students for ideas on how we can use sources ethically and avoid plagiarism.
    • Show the Plagiarism: How to avoid it video:
    • Have students individually or in small groups complete the Ethical Use of Sources Activity Handout:
      • Go over the Types of Use (Ctrl-C, Remix, Find & Replace, 404 error) and ask students to identify the Types of Use first, letting them know that it might be helpful to circle or underline the parts of the text that are the same. 
      • Discuss the correct answers to the Types of Use.
      • Ask them to answer the "What changes can you make to the paragraph above so the original source is being used ethically?" parts of the handout.
      • Discuss the correct answers to the ethical use corrections
  • Integrating Sources
    • Show students this quote:
      • "In most cases, your best bet is to know your material well enough that you can set a source aside and write about its ideas in your own words. Otherwise, you run the risk of simply compiling a data dump or creating a patchwork of quotations. When you can sum up the gist of a source - its main point - instead of quoting from it excessively, that will save your reader time and will demonstrate that you really know the material. It will also leave more room for you to put your own stamp on the ideas you are writing about." How do I Use Sources Without Plagiarizing? from Getting Started - a Guide to How the Library Works: Using Sources:
    • Define Patchworking means just pulling out quotes to fit your paper - By understanding the material, you avoid patchworking  and point out that, by understanding the source, you can your own stamp on the ideas you are writing about – which is the point of writing in the first place – to share your ideas and to participate in the conversation about your topic – that is scholarship
  • Reflection:
    • Ask students to spend a few minutes responding to the following questions:
      • Imagine you created something to share your expertise.  How would you feel if someone passed your creation off as their own?  How would you feel if they misrepresented your creation? 
      • Given our discussion today and thinking about how something you create might be used, how will you approach using sources going forward?

Resources and Attachments: 

Teaching Tips:

The Expertise and Authority handout and the Reflection Activity could be assigned as homework before or after the session.  

Topics and Concepts: