Identify/Generate the principle
Time: 20-30 minutes (plus students' prep work)
This activity helps students to understand what qualifies as evidence
in different fields. Because it involves student research, it works
best after/in conjunction with the class visit to the library.
In class, brainstorm a list of experts in different areas who might
write about your topic. For example, if your topic is food, scientists
write about cholesterol's impact on the heart, economists about
farm subsidies, politicians about genetically modified foods, movie
critics about Chocolat, psychologists about the effects of the
family meal, etc. Assign two or three students to each kind of
For homework, ask students to find an article in a journal written
by experts for other experts in their assigned field. Students
should print/photocopy the article, and highlight all of the author's
In class, group students together who studied different fields.
They should discuss how their evidence differs, and why different
fields might value different kinds of evidence.
Come together as a class to discuss findings.
Variation A: In class, group students together who studied the
same field. They should discuss what counts as evidence in their
field, and what conclusions about the field they can draw based
on its evidence standards. Then, come together as a class to discuss
findings, and to consider how and why evidence differs.
Variation B: Put journal articles on reserve/on toolkit so that
students don't have to search for them.