Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

1.2 Learning resources are used effectively and managed through appropriate selection and cross-referencing of information and acknowledgement of sources.

ryanrori December 29, 2020

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We have looked at what a learning resource is, what kinds there are and where you might find them.

We will now look at using learning resources in the most effective way. This means finding the best resources for your purpose, making the best use of those resources and, lastly, knowing how to acknowledge the resources you have used.

To decide which is the best kind of resource to use for a particular task, we need to look more closely at the kinds of resources we have discussed, and ask ourselves some critical questions about how they are suitable for different tasks. There are differences between using printed material (e.g. books or magazines), electronic sources (e.g. the internet or DVD’s) and people as learning resources. Each kind has its advantages, and will suit certain needs. On the other hand, a learning resource that suits one need may not suit another. Here are some characteristics of each kind of learning resource

ResourceAdvantagesLimitations
Print
BookReliable because publisher is accountable for its quality Specialised information, accessible through contents page and index   Reliability can be checked through publishInformation may become out-of-date
MagazineArticles give information in a reader friendly way   Adverts can be informativeUp-to-date at first but individual copies soon out-of-date
Electronic
InternetMassive amount of information, mostly free Information on a wide range of topics Search-engines can trawl for information Websites contain links for easy cross- reference New information constantly being added to, so is up-to-date  No controls over publishing on internet, therefore information may be unreliable Slow, so can be expensive to use (phone time) Amount of material available can make finding precise information difficult
DVDCan contain much information Has various formats: print, pictures, sound, filmsCan be expensive to buy
 
PeopleInteractive: you can ask questions and get explanationsYou must judge reliability

You can probably think of many more points, but notice that one thing that keeps coming up is reliability. When you are using learning resources, a key factor is how accurate the information is. The internet, in particular, can give you a lot of information but you have to use your judgement as regards the reliability of that information. An important factor is to use credible websites i.e. websites that are recommended, established and reliable.

Another factor in choosing a learning resource is its suitability to the task. The following exercise asks you to make decisions about the main kind of resource you would use for a particular task

Acknowledging resources

A critical point to bear in mind when doing research is that whenever you use that information in writing up or presenting your research you must acknowledge the source of that information. This is extremely important for two reasons. One is that whoever reads your writing may want to follow up on a point. The other, more serious reason is that using information without stating where it came from is seen in the same way as taking something from another person without their permission. In the academic world this is termed plagiarism, and it is seen as theft. For thatreason, when you are using any print resource, always keep a record of the resourceas you make your notes, because you will have to acknowledge any resource you use (in your Bibliography). Printouts from the internet automatically have the source printed at the top, but you must not forget to acknowledge it in your own presentation.

What information do you need in order to acknowledge a resource?

For a book, you need the title (underlined), author/s, publisher, date and place of publication. The title, author and publisher are found on the title page of the book, and the place and date of publication are on the next page. For example:

Acknowledgement of this book would therefore be written:

Smith; G: A Captain’s Diary 2007 – 2009, Jonathan Bell Publishers, 2009

To acknowledge an article in a journal, give the title of the article, the name of the journal (underlined), its year, the volume and number, and the page numbers

E.g.     SABIE Report, South African Bee Journal 2003 Volume 75 No. 3, p. 87

When you use an internet site, you write out the website address, for example: The SA Agricultural Research Council: www.arc.agric.za

The Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations www.fao.org

If you use the webpage from a site, include that in the reference

E.g. The business page of the SABC: www.Sabcnews.co.za/economy/business