Two scenarios: how using information ethically earns respect

Information Literacy Module V: Preparing to Use Information Ethically

One student contributes to a class discussion by throwing out statistics and facts that none of his classmates remember seeing in the book. He never mentions a source, but continues stating facts and claiming to know everything about the discussion topic. While he’s talking, his classmates think, “Who’s this guy think he is? Is his information even correct? Maybe he’s making it all up.” Later, his classmates see photocopies of articles about the discussion topic fall out of his backpack. Now they think, “What a boob. He was pretending to be soooo smart, but the whole time he was just using information he read in an article. He wasn’t fooling us.”

Another student in a different class adds to a similar discussion and also uses statistics and facts to support his points, but he doesn’t pretend to know everything. Instead, he says, “I was reading this article by Dr. Sandra Jones, a behavioral psychologist who researches this topic for a living. It really helped me to get a better understanding of it. One thing that struck me as most interesting was that . . .” and so on. His classmates think, “Wow! He’s a really smart guy! He went out and found some research to help him understand the topic. I bet he knows a lot more about it than I do now. Good thinking!”

Guiding Your Research
Part 1: Which student do you think will get more respect from his classmates and instructor? Why?

Part 2: How might this same concept apply to delivering formal presentations and writing research papers?