Evaluating Articles, Forwards and YouTube Vids

The forwarded email declared, An Internationally known figure said, “………”  I decided to fact check the claim and discovered it was not true. 

There are many spectacular claims in emails, the news, Facebook and in YouTube videos clamoring for our attention and reaction.  So what was it that made me decide to fact check this one? In the article there was:

  • No date given for the speech.
  • No footnote given for the location, reporter, reporting agency, etc.
  • No corroborating secondary source listed.

In this world of easy access, it is important that the information we pass on to others is legitimate and true especially if it could be polarizing or inflammatory.  Words do have consequences…

Therefore, it is imperative that we filter what we read and watch before assuming it is true.  Ask questions:

  • What is the source?
  • Are there other sources to corroborate the information?
  • Are there any citations or footnotes from other credible sources?
  • If there are two contrary sides using the same evidence, what are the credentials of the two sources? Is there a specific agenda that either side has that may skew the evidence or is it observable and reproducible regardless of who is enquiring?
  • Is circular reasoning in play? Or rational logic?

If charts or graphs are being used:

  • Be aware of the scales being used.  They can be stretched of minimized for different effects.
  • What information is being shared?  What information is NOT included?
  • Are there variables not accounted for?

We need to be critical of what we read and watch to determine whether it really is true—therefore  worthy of our time or response OR it’s NOT true or factual and therefore worthy of warning others or not passing on.

[In college one of the best required books I read was Studying a Study & Taking a Test by Richard Reigelman (now in its 6th edition).  I read the first half and it was invaluable because it taught how to look at information critically and examine the content for credibility.  Even though written to examine scientific literature, many of the basic textual analysis can be used in other arenas.  I highly recommend it.] *t{�

2 thoughts on “Evaluating Articles, Forwards and YouTube Vids

  1. Great article, Erica! I appreciate when people who have forwarded, shared or otherwise cited false or unverified information are willing to receive correct(ed) information, evidence of falsehood, retract and learn from it. I have had some embarrassing moments posting false info and had to swallow my pride on more than one occasion! So often, I see people engaging in exchanges and unwilling to even acknowledge facts as such. “I disagree with your facts” offered as an argument. I find it so frustrating when 2+2=3, for example, is entertained as valid. Truth matters and there is a standard for it. Your article is great info to assist us weeding out the erroneous.


    1. Thanks Jeni,
      There is so much out there on the internet and we have often moved away from rational logic in evaluating articles, videos, etc. It is So easy to be emotionally influenced! Yikes!!!


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