Evaluating Information Reading

Highlights from Information Strategies for Communicators, Lesson 10: Research Skill: Evaluating Information

  • The most challenging work in the information strategy process is often the evaluation of the
    information you’ve gathered.
  • You apply your information evaluation skills as you move through the information strategy. Critical thinking, evidence-based analysis, and healthy skepticism [ ] are the tools of the skilled information evaluator.
  • We live in an information-inundated world. Making sense of facts, opinions, assertions, claims, and appeals has become such a challenge that educators from preschool through higher education now recognize the importance of teaching critical thinking skills.
  • When evaluating the information found via the Internet there are some foundational ideas that need to be remembered.
    • The Internet did not invent misinformation or disinformation
    • The Internet did not create rumor mongering and propaganda
    • The Internet is not responsible for [faulty] data and [misleading] statistics

[Misinformation has] been around forever. The Internet is just a new distribution outlet. The Internet does make it possible for misinformation, disinformation, rumor mongering, [faulty] data and [misleading] statistics to be distributed more quickly and widely than in the past. It is incumbent on you, as the [researcher], develop ways to detect and avoid these information traps.

  • If you ask, and answer, the following three questions when you go to any website, you should be able to avoid misusing or misunderstanding the information you find:
    • Who is sharing this information?
    • Why are they sharing it?
    • How do they know what they claim to know

“Neil deGrasse Tyson Question Everything” Environmental Illness Network: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0