Making sources visible: Promoting multiple document literacy with digital epistemic scaffolds

Sarit Barzilai, Shiri Mor-Hagani, Asnat R. Zohar, Talia Shlomi-Elooz, Ruthy Ben-Yishai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Learning in contemporary knowledge societies requires using multiple information sources, or documents, to understand important phenomena and events. However, students can find it difficult to evaluate and integrate multiple documents. The aim of this study was to examine new approaches for promoting multiple document literacy using digital epistemic scaffolds that support evaluation and integration of multiple documents. The scaffolds included a novel document mapping tool that enables visually representing the network of relations between sources and claims, as well as evaluative and metacognitive prompts that support critical evaluation and integration. In a quasi-experiment, we engaged 88 9th grade students in investigating two historical controversies with and without the scaffolds. Learning with the scaffolds had a positive effect on learners' subsequent unscaffolded evaluation and integration performance and on their meta-epistemic knowledge about epistemic criteria and processes, in comparison to a control group. Qualitative analysis of learners’ discourse, as they collaboratively mapped multiple documents, suggested that document mapping supported construction of intertextual representations, facilitated articulation and discussion of epistemic criteria and processes, and provided visual feedback that informed self-monitoring and evaluation. The instructional prompts complemented mapping by problematizing evaluation and integration performance. We discuss how visualizing documents models can promote multiple document literacy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103980
JournalComputers and Education
StatePublished - Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Ltd


  • 21st century abilities
  • Cooperative/collaborative learning
  • Distributed learning environments
  • Improving classroom teaching
  • Information literacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • Education


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