Why is this important?
- You can find multiple articles on the same topic which all say different things.
- You can find information to support any argument online. Is it reliable or fact based?
- You will increasingly be asked for "authoritative sources" for research. Can you justify why your sources are authoritative?
- Anyone can post online, you should have some strategies to be able to tell if someone is trying to trick or influence you.
Are some URL extensions better than others?
- You've probably heard that .gov (government), .org (organization) and .edu (education) are "better" than .com.
- How do you think that the political party in the White House may influence some .gov sites?
- Consider some .org sites: Greenpeace, the NRA, and PETA. Do you think these organizations would like to influence your opinion or actions? Are they always reliable and unbiased?
- Most news organizations are .com and cover a full range of viewpoints.
Are some sources "good" and others "bad"?
- It is good to read multiple sources to gain a more balanced view of any issue.
- There are times, for example a compare and contrast or analysis, when you may want to identify and use biased articles.
- It is important to be aware of the bias presented in an article and take that into consideration when researching.
What does it mean when I hear that a publication "skews left" or that an idea is "right wing"?
- Publication objectivity is usually measured in terms of how it supports a particular political party's ideology.
- Left bias or "skewing left" means that the publication usually publishes information more in line with Democratic or liberal policies (think Left=Liberal).
- Right bias or "skewing right" means that the publication usually publishes information more in line with Republican or conservative policies (think Right=Republican).
Is there ever a time when an opinion article is valid for research?
- When the author is a verified expert on a particular topic and is sharing an opinion in their area of expertise, the article may be valuable.
- Other words for "opinion" are "editorial" and "commentary".
Is everything from a database approved for research?
- Many databases pull magazine and newspaper articles which may include opinion, editorial, and commentary articles. These types of articles still need to be evaluated.
There are many examples of media evaluation tools - just use one!