Home » Distance Library Instruction Virtual Poster Session (Spring 2019) » Contextualizing Source Evaluation: Teaching the “Four Moves and a Habit” Approach in an Online Classroom


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Contextualizing Source Evaluation: Teaching the “Four Moves and a Habit” Approach in an Online Classroom

This poster is part of the Distance Library Instruction Virtual Poster Session hosted by the ACRL DLS Instruction Committee. We encourage you to ask questions and engage in discussion on this poster! Authors will respond to comments between April 1-5.


Jennifer Bodley, City University of Seattle and Elizabeth St. Clair, City University of Seattle

Poster Description:

Source evaluation checklists offer students little in the way of developing critical thought about the internet publishing environment, yet many librarians still rely on checklists when teaching evaluation skills. This poster highlights a new source evaluation approach and provides examples of how to teach it in an online setting.




About the Presenters

Jennifer Bodley is an instruction and reference librarian at City University of Seattle. Building critical thinkers through active learning is her instructional goal. Jennifer’s experience includes providing business, legal, biological, and medical research in business and academic environments. Jennifer has a BA in Biology and in Psychology and an MLIS.

Elizabeth St. Clair is an instruction and reference librarian at City University of Seattle. Her embedded instruction practice focuses primarily on meeting students at their point of need in their online classrooms. Elizabeth received her MLIS from The University of Alabama and has experience in both corporate and academic libraries.


  1. I love your Move 3 video with the example of lateral reading. I notice it’s unlisted. Are you going to make it public so that you can share it more widely? It’s such a helpful example.

    • Hi Cyndi-

      Thanks for your question. I wasn’t planning on making it public. I’ve found it helpful, if time allows, to change some of the examples I use based on the course.

      Because I’ve been in some courses for a while, I’m familiar with some of the “usual suspects” of poor-quality information students may use in those courses. For example, when students are in our introductory nutrition course, I might choose an article or website I know many students will encounter as one of the top Google search results for typical topics student pick for that course.

      Are you in a course, where you’ve repeatedly seen a low-quality source used? Would using 4 Moves and a Habit help the students evaluate that source differently?

      Best, Jenni

    • Hi Cyndi, I’d like to reiterate what Jenni said here. Jenni and I both use the Four Moves in different classes and use different examples when showing how the “Four Moves” works. I work primarily with undergraduate business students, so I like to use examples that they are more likely to come across (Native advertising or user-generated content on Forbes, that sort of thing). Luckily, the screencasts are super easy to create and can be completed in a few minutes. In the past, we’ve used Screencast-o-matic, Jing, and SnagIt. I think that show-and-tell really works well to illustrate this process.

  2. Hi, Jennifer and Elizabeth! First off, I love the design of both of your posters! It’s very visually appealing, and I think it’s great that you leveraged the online format to provide links to videos and resources.

    In regards to this poster specifically, I had never heard of “Four Moves and a Habit”, but I love the framework! I think this would be very useful to my students, who are going to be doing “everyday information literacy” far more than they do scholarly research. That said, have you applied this to scholarly research at all? This seems more geared towards resources on the open web. How would you ask students to, for example, “Go upstream” or “look for previous work” when it comes to scholarly literature?


    • Hi Jennifer-

      Thanks for your kind words. We used Piktochart (https://piktochart.com/). They have free access to basic layouts, but for these posters we upgraded to a PRO Team Educational license (it was reasonably priced). Piktochart can be used to develop instructional materials too. It is fun to play around with, and fairly easy to use.

      I do not use this framework for teaching students about scholarly information. The reason is because the Four Moves really focuses on a contextualized approach by looking at the way information is created, published and shared online. The scholarly information lifecycle has such a very different process for being created, published and shared, that I think evaluation of scholarly information needs to be taught separately.

      Sometimes instructors want me to teach it all at the same time though. Students get very confused moving from the scholarly publishing process to the Wild West of the internet publishing process.

      Do you feel as if there is a place in your instruction where you could use this? Or do you really have to focus more on the evaluation of scholarly information? If you work with instructors, would you be able to easily change the approach you use in teaching this IL concept? Sometimes that is the hard part, getting the buy-in. I find many instructors like CRAAP, even if we don’t think it is the right teaching strategy.

      Best, Jenni

      • Thanks for your response and for letting me know about Piktochart!

        I would definitely use this more than the evaluation of scholarly information! We are a practiced-focused graduate school of education, and so people often think that information literacy isn’t important because our students aren’t doing scholarly research. I frequently make the argument that the skills are also useful for the everyday work of teachers (and that they need to teach these skills to their students).

        I asked about connections to scholarly information only because I currently use a more traditional framework (the 5 Ws) that does apply to both scholarly information and information on the open web, which is nice. I’m now thinking about how the two can be combined. For example, when you’re answering “Who created it?”, you look at the information on the page, but you also read laterally. When you answer “Where can I verify the information?”, you can go upstream.

        That said, I do think you make an important point about context, and that maybe strategies (both things like CRAAP and the “Four Moves and a Habit”) shouldn’t be taught in a context-free way. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how we teach information literacy as this thing that transcends disciplines and contexts, but it really is applied differently in different disciplines and contexts. I think I wouldn’t want to teach even “Four Moves and a Habit” without some critical discussion about when to use the strategies and when other strategies might be appropriate.

  3. I’d like to expand on what Jenni has said here, which is that the Four Moves is meant to help students *quickly* diagnose information, which works best in an online environment and translates well into their every day. Once they have decided the article/report/whatever is worth their time, then they can move on towards a closer inspection of the piece. I think there are ways that you could teach this along with scholarly evaluation, but I personally haven’t tried it out yet! I think it is definitely something to think about.

    My main hope when I teach this is that students internalize the need to “double check,” which I do think applies to scholarly publishing—whether it is doing a quick search to make sure the journal isn’t predatory/has a bad reputation or following through on the works cited. In the end, I want students to develop a healthy level of skepticism when approaching *any* information, to effectively and efficiently use the tools at their disposal, and to begin understanding how information interconnected. To me, that’s all part of the “habit.”

  4. Hi,

    I love this poster board, it brings to light that there is a great deal of questions that undergraduate students has upon research with internet resources. I find that the additional icons with examples that you provided in the additional link, a clear way of doing the method of 4 movies and a habit. I liked the mention of circling back. Kinda like a rinse and repeat interpretation.

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