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Free Resources: ‘Internet Detective’ Tutorial for Critical Thinking in Research

Posted Jun 21, 2006
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Internet Detective, a free online tutorial designed to help students develop the critical thinking required for their Internet research, has been relaunched. Created through a partnership between the Institute for Learning and Research Technology at the University of Bristol and the Department of Information and Communications at Manchester Metropolitan University, both in the U.K., it is available in the RDN Virtual Training Suite at

The tutorial offers practical advice on evaluating the quality of Web sites and highlights the need for care when selecting online information sources to inform academic work.

The tutorial adopts a film noir detective metaphor to offer a light-hearted guide to developing Internet skills in support of studying and research. It takes approximately an hour to complete and is divided into the following five sections:

What's the Story? - aims to help students recognize the need to develop advanced Internet skills for university and college work.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly - explains why information quality is an issue on the Web, especially for academic research, and raises awareness of Internet hoaxes and scams.

Detective Work -gives hints and tips that help students evaluate information found on the Internet.

Get on the Case - enables students to try out their Internet Detective skills with practical exercises.

Keep the Right Side of the Law - warns students about the dangers of plagiarism, copyright, and incorrect use of citations and referencing.

Internet Detective was originally developed in 1998 with funding from the European Union and was translated into a number of languages by national libraries and research organizations. The original version was withdrawn in 2005, but there was a high demand for its return, as issues of information quality and overload on the Internet persist.

The new version is part of the RDN Virtual Training Suite. It was developed from JISC, the HEFCE Learn Higher project (CETL) and the Higher Education Academy Subject Centre for Information and Computer Sciences.

Source: Institute for Learning and Research Technology, University of Bristol,

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