Think Like a Metaliterate Researcher:
Consciously seek information from a spectrum of viewpoints and sources. (B)
Being an active metaliterate learner means pausing to question and think, and resisting the tendency to accept information at face value.
When you are learning about a topic, consider whether you are examining it from all viewpoints. Even if you have an opinion at the beginning of your research, it’s important to investigate the issue from all sides in order to gain a full understanding. As you encounter information on a topic, make sure to check your biases. As much as you might want to believe that the opposing candidate in an election did something outrageous, does it really make sense? Are your biases, the things you want to believe, clouding your judgement? Websites like Snopes and FactCheck.org can be great for debunking high profile hoaxes and conspiracies, but they can’t cover everything. It is up to you to be diligent about the information you encounter, no matter the source.
When possible, it helps to go directly to the source of the information. Following an article’s supporting links and citations (you should be skeptical if there aren’t any) back to the original source or hard data lets you judge for yourself what that data means. Just because a citation is listed doesn’t mean it actually supports the author’s argument.
- Have I examined the topic from multiple perspectives? Are there any voices that aren’t being heard?
- Have I integrated different ways of looking at the world to gain new insights about the topic?
- What existing systems will help me to do this (e.g. research databases, subject guides, professional associations, etc.)?
- Is there cited evidence? Does the evidence actually support the author’s claim?