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Common Core Standards: ELA

Grades 11-12

Writing W.11-12.8

Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the strengths and limitations of each source in terms of the task, purpose, and audience; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and overreliance on any one source and following a standard format for citation.

In this standard, students will be using multiple resources in order to produce a product. In order to be effective, students must sift through vast amounts of information and use only what applies to their topic. They must evaluate each of their sources to be certain they are reliable, trustworthy, and unbiased. Additionally, students should use their research strategically, incorporating the information fluently into their own ideas and achieving an effective balance of quality research and original thought. Students are also (of course) required to properly cite the sources within their text, giving credit where credit is due in order to avoid plagiarism. As always, all of these skills should be conducted with a focus on what is right for the task, purpose, and audience. It’s a lot for students to manage, but take a look at the following example for some ideas of how this might play out in the classroom.

Example

Assignment Example:

You have recently read the novel, Dracula, by Bram Stoker, and your teacher has asked you to explore how the novel reflects the history, culture, and literary contexts of the time period in which it was written. In other words, you are viewing the literature through a traditional lens of historical critical analysis. Here, you’ll be examining how the events or philosophies of the government and society of Victorian England affect the plot of story. Particulars of the author’s life that might be present in the novel are also important.

You will use outside resources to find information for your paper. You put your fangs into it, finding several essays written about your topic, a few from Google. Some are from an online database called the Discovering Collection, which offers a premium selection of reference materials for literature. It contains articles from primary and secondary resources. Looking at your chosen sources, you realize that your essays from Google are mainly dot coms. These have limitations in terms of credibility, so they are probably not reliable. Instead, you turn to those that are from college websites and library databases.

You dig deeper to learn that one of your sources was written by a college professor of literature, a credible source for sure. The other was written by a freshman composition student, hmmm. You choose to use the document written by the professor since the student has less experience and the work may not be accurate. From the Discovery Collection, you find that all eight essays are from authors, critical reviewers, and instructors at various universities throughout the United States, but just four of them discuss your particular topic. Your first search has resulted in, you COUNT f-i-v-e, credible resources to use in your paper. Spectacula!

You head off to the library where the helpful Ms. Haynes has three literary analysis books for you. In each table of contents is a mention of Dracula. As you skim the text of those essays, you find that two of them discuss, in part, your topic. You make copies of these essays so that you can take notes on the specific paragraphs addressing the history of the time period. Don’t forget to write down the information you’ll need to properly cite these books in your paper.

Later, you find a colorful book on the Victorian Era, which delves into the values and behaviors of the society during that time period. You can definitely make your own connections between this text on history and culture and your observations about the novel. On to note-taking! You read your sources carefully, taking clear, concise notes and keeping track of which information came from which text. This will be important when it’s time to cite your sources. You put quotation marks around direct quotes and introduce any ideas, facts, and examples that aren’t yours. Finally, you will use a website such as OWL at Purdue which will help you correctly cite your sources and develop your working bibliography.

You have found both digital and print resources that address your selected topic. Now, you’ll seamlessly integrate the most relevant information into a paper that will be reliable, credible, and unbiased. You’re ready to create your own masterpiece for your teacher and classmates. The parental units will go BATTY!

Quiz Questions

Here's an example of a quiz that could be used to test this standard.

Match the description to the word.

  1. ____ relevant

    Correct Answer:

    closely connected to the topic at hand

    Answer Explanation:

    When writing a research paper, you only want to include the most relevant information; don’t dump just anything into your paper.


  2. ____ authoritative

    Correct Answer:

    able to be trusted as being accurate or true

    Answer Explanation:

    Authoritative sources are the ONLY ones you should use.


  3. ____ digital

    Correct Answer:

    involving the use of computer technology

    Answer Explanation:

    Research prior to the digital era must have taken FOREVER. Consider yourself lucky.


  4. ____ print

    Correct Answer:

    hard copy of text in a newspaper, brochure, or book

    Answer Explanation:

    Just because we’re in the digital era, don’t count out print sources. There are some very useful books out there, you know, like, on paper.


  5. ____ integrate

    Correct Answer:

    combine different parts to create a whole

    Answer Explanation:

    You should integrate or combine your research with your own ideas, but don’t let the research take over your essay.


  6. ____ plagiarism

    Correct Answer:

    to claim another’s work or ideas as one’s own

    Answer Explanation:

    It’s bad, very bad.


  7. ____ citation

    Correct Answer:

    a quotation from or reference to another’s book or paper

    Answer Explanation:

    This is how you avoid plagiarism, by telling your reader which information is not yours and where you got it.


  8. ____ limitation

    Correct Answer:

    a defect or failing; inadequate

    Answer Explanation:

    It’s important to be aware of the strengths and limitations of your sources before you decide to use them or you could be the one who ends up looking biased or not credible.


  9. ____ task

    Correct Answer:

    an assignment; work to be done

    Answer Explanation:

    This sounds like an easy one, but you must keep the task in mind as you research and write. Sometimes research can take you wandering away from your focus or assigned topic if you’re not careful.


  10. ____ purpose

    Correct Answer:

    intention or objective

    Answer Explanation:

    The purpose is another important piece to keep in mind. Are you making an argument? Providing information? What are you trying to convey or prove? Make sure all the research you include helps you achieve your purpose.


Aligned Resources

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