According to the National Library Board, which runs an information literacy programme for school children, students these days are making more use of the internet to complete their homework than before, but they often fail to verify the information they find online by cross-checking against other sources. Many also commit plagiarism by simply cutting and pasting information they find off the internet.

The Source-Understand-Research-Evaluate (SURE) programme found that 1,300 or so students who participated since 2013 classify themselves as Internet-savvy.

“It is very difficult to regulate content online to know what is credible and what is not. When people use inaccurate information, it will decrease the quality of their work and what they are writing, and this will affect creativity and productivity due to inaccuracies,” says a facilitator from SURE.

SURE holds workshops and talks at schools on the correct methods for research, where students are taught how to check if sources of information are credible and reliable and how to exercise fair judgement or differentiate between facts and opinions.

Its newest workshop, titled Historical Scene Investigation, allows participants to play detective as they solve authentic local historical mysteries, such as why trolley buses disappeared from Singapore. They are introduced to primary sources, such as Mr N I Narayanan, an expert on trolley buses, as well as secondary sources, such as books and online resources.

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