Web Quest
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   Task
   Time
   Process
   Resources
   Conclusion
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An Internet WebQuest

EVALUATING BIAS IN ADVERTISEMENTS

Introduction

Media literacy is the ability to analyze and evaluate the messages we see in movies, television shows, magazines, newspapers, online, and in other forms of media. One part of media literacy is developing the ability to take a critical look at advertisements, so you can understand how advertisements are constructed as well as how to interpret their messages. What are some of the strategies used to create advertisements? How do professionals use these techniques to persuade you? Is there an element of bias in an advertisement you've recently seen? In this WebQuest, you will explore advertising strategies, understand how they are used to get their messages across, and evaluate how bias can play a role in advertising.

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Task

Your job in the WebQuest is to expand your media literacy. You will learn about advertising techniques and investigate their use. You'll take a look at stereotyping as one type of bias in advertising. Once you've conducted some research to increase your knowledge of advertising and bias, select a print advertisement to evaluate. Using a worksheet, you'll describe the elements of the print ad and describe biases you observe. The purpose of this evaluation is to help you become more informed about advertising techniques and bias in order to make you a better consumer of advertising and the products and services they promote.

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Time

2 days to answer the questions and evaluate a product advertisement

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Process

First, read through the following set of questions before you begin your Internet research. As you explore each site, look for answers to the questions.

Questions about Evaluating Bias in Consumer Product Advertisements

  1. What are some strategies that professional groups use to create “good ads?” Which strategies have the potential to introduce bias? Why?
  2. What is a strategy that advertisers use to gain your attention? Think of an example of an advertisement that uses this strategy. Describe the ad and its strategy.
  3. What are the elements of a magazine advertisement? How do they work to persuade the reader?
  4. What is stereotyping? Why is stereotyping a problem?
  5. Some types of advertising contain the ad creator’s perspective. What is propaganda? What is the difference between information and propaganda?

Next, use the Print Advertisement Analysis worksheet to evaluate a print ad for bias. (Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader®)

Select a printed advertisement from one of these sources:

  • Local or national newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Periodicals
  • Organization newsletters

Use the worksheet to evaluate the information in the advertisement. Describe the techniques included in the ad and address the biases that are specifically represented.

Review the rubric to understand how your worksheet will be evaluated.

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Resources

Look at these web sites to find the information that will help you answer questions about bias in product advertising and to gather information to use for your advertisement evaluation.

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Conclusion

In the process of completing this WebQuest, you've become informed about the techniques of advertising as well as evaluating bias in advertising. You have read information to answer questions about this topic, and have increased your media literacy. You've also used your evaluation skills to take a critical look at a print advertisement. By expanding your media literacy, you will become more aware of advertising techniques, how they are used to persuade you, and how to be observant of the different messages advertisements present.

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