Bad "scholarly article" needed for information literacy classes

John M Hubbard hubbardj at UWM.EDU
Mon Mar 9 19:21:06 EDT 2015

10-15 years ago it was all the rage for librarians--who arguably felt threatened by the web--to point at silly and dubious websites (the Nazi MLK site being the most famous example). This unfortunately promoted a more binary way of thinking about trustworthy and non-trustworthy sources than is warranted, so it's nice to see this question being asked about bad scholarly articles.
There's been research fraud published in almost all scientific disciplines (global warming, cloning, cold fusion), driven by those with an axe to grind or researchers who fall under the pressure to find something publishable other than negative results. Recent cases involving Chris Kyle and Brian Williams are other non-scholarly examples.
I'm not sure these exactly fit the "unintentionally bad grammar" rule, but I would nominate two articles as worth a look:
Written in jest as by a physicist as a "sting" against the vernacular of social science, and accepted by a peer-reviewed Sociology journal.
Flashpoint for the anti-vax movement. That's a lot more serious than people believing there was a $250 cookie recipe.
More info is available here:
John Hubbard
Web Services and Electronic Resources Coordinator
UWM Libraries Webmaster
University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee
Golda Meir Library W130F

From: Web technologies in libraries [mailto:WEB4LIB at LISTSERV.ND.EDU] On Behalf Of Stacy Pober
Sent: Monday, March 9, 2015 4:27 PM
Subject: [WEB4LIB] Bad "scholarly article" needed for information literacy classes

I'm looking for an example of a badly written pseudo-scholarly article to use as an example in an info literacy class.

For years, I used a badly written veterinary article that was on the website of a manufacturer of herbal supplements. It claimed to be a report of the results of a double-blind study of their products as used to treat a particular disease but it described a terribly designed study which was not even single-blinded.  It had no bibliography.  It used some of the buzzwords of academia and was co-authored by two veterinarians and the owner of the supplement company. It was a very good example of very awful pseudo-academic writing.

Alas, the company has taken the article down from the web.

Does anyone have some similarly bad articles they can suggest using?  I am not looking for articles that are written just to prove that one can write badly, and I don't want one of those articles written by an automatic paper generating program.. I know there are some of those on the web. I want one that is bad but written by people who sincerely thought they were writing a good research article.

The article I used to use was chosen partly because of the large number of people who linked to it from other websites.  Those other sites were linking to it because they believed it. They were not using it as a bad example.

Stacy Pober
Information Alchemist
Manhattan College Library
Riverdale, NY 10471
stacy.pober at<mailto:stacy.pober at>

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