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Understanding Sources

Social, economic and environmental issues in our ever-changing world.

Understanding Sources

Postby TylerM4 » Aug 16th, 2017, 10:56 am

I'm really concerned with the state of society in today's digital age.

Specifically - there are a LOT of people out there that don't question or consider the source of their information. Many people seem to automatically trust information they stumble across on Facebook or scientific information from news sites for example. The idea of "Unbiased, professionally gathered, peer-reviewed information from a reputable source" is completely foreign to many people.

The downstream impact being poor choices/decisions, incorrectly influencing others or their children, etc.

Anyone have ideas for how we as a society can help avoid this? Back in my schooling days - information source vetting wasn't really taught until you reached the college/university level. Perhaps something that now needs to be taught at the highschool level if it isn't already?

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Re: Understanding Sources

Postby Loki2u » Aug 16th, 2017, 11:14 am

Completely agree and it is quite obvious on these forums as well.

I have a masters degree and as you mentioned, college and university is where I learned how to think critically, and research factual peer reviewed sources or properly cited articles. We would have to debate on topics from the side we opposed to make our arguments so we could learn how the other side might think.

The internet has given us all the information we could ever need at our fingertips, but that doesn't mean that information is accurate. I agree with your suggestion that citing sources and researching could be better optimized at the high school level.

I've been called an "over-educated know it all" more than once by a certain poster here who lacks the above skills. How ironic is that? [icon_lol2.gif]
You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your INFORMED opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant. -Harlan Ellison-

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Re: Understanding Sources

Postby kgcayenne » Aug 16th, 2017, 11:30 am

Unfortunately, we have reached a time when people who search with a slant can find information to suit their specific agenda.
"without knowledge, he multiplies mere words."
Insanity is hereditary, you get it from your kids.

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Re: Understanding Sources

Postby dogspoiler » Aug 16th, 2017, 11:56 am

What I have learned to do is surf 10-20 sites that have information regarding the topic in question. You usually find the mainstream information quite quickly, and you can be informed about some of the alternate opinions.
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Re: Understanding Sources

Postby Opeeved » Aug 16th, 2017, 12:04 pm

It's all so true, top 3 post. Critical thought should begin even earlier imo.

Concession and acknowledgment to another person's post, for example, from diametric poles, is often never done. It's like drunk people at a party, which person yells the loudest is the one the herd follows.

If a person likes to soaks up information, from any (not prime time television) and all sources, critical thought processes imo, become natural.

Prime time television pop culture- key indicator of the level of the under educated non pencil pusher hahaha.
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Re: Understanding Sources

Postby TylerM4 » Aug 16th, 2017, 1:26 pm

dogspoiler wrote:What I have learned to do is surf 10-20 sites that have information regarding the topic in question. You usually find the mainstream information quite quickly, and you can be informed about some of the alternate opinions.


This approach is certainly a step in the right direction. I would caution you however in that this approach could sometimes result in gathering common, outdated, or "popular" knowledge rather than current or accurate knowledge.

Here's an example: Margarine. Most people think it's bad/unhealthy for you and you are better off eating butter. But recent studies, analysis, and science actually says otherwise. Modern general consensus from people in the know (Mayo Clinic, Harvard Medical School, etc.) is that margarine vs butter is a bit of a tossup and neither are good for you. But having said that - some types of margarine are actually better for you (Non hydrogenated + Trans fat free). BUT - if you google margarine you'll likely find more people/references saying "Margarine is really bad for you". Google tends to return popular links over factual links.

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Re: Understanding Sources

Postby gman313 » Aug 16th, 2017, 1:34 pm

TylerM4 wrote:
This approach is certainly a step in the right direction. I would caution you however in that this approach could sometimes result in gathering common, outdated, or "popular" knowledge rather than current or accurate knowledge.

Here's an example: Margarine. Most people think it's bad/unhealthy for you and you are better off eating butter. But recent studies, analysis, and science actually says otherwise. Modern general consensus from people in the know (Mayo Clinic, Harvard Medical School, etc.) is that margarine vs butter is a bit of a tossup and neither are good for you. But having said that - some types of margarine are actually better for you (Non hydrogenated + Trans fat free). BUT - if you google margarine you'll likely find more people/references saying "Margarine is really bad for you". Google tends to return popular links over factual links.


I can find all sorts of info that a carb free diet is very good for you as well

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Re: Understanding Sources

Postby Opeeved » Aug 16th, 2017, 1:39 pm

True,^^ but I'll never give up my butter or salt. And this is where personal belief, bias and preference come into play. A victim of violent crime likely, in some circumstances above, could never be persuaded that rehabilitation is a better option than punitive, for example. Which is understandable. Despite my first post, which partially was/is tongue in cheek, understanding this idea is falls into critical thought.
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Re: Understanding Sources

Postby foodsmith » Aug 16th, 2017, 2:06 pm

See, and I read all this and reserve comment until we can define "good for you".

I've been fortunate enough to live and work in several countries, both developed and otherwise, and can honestly say the opinion differs no matter where you are...

So who is the authority? I just don't want anyone souring my morning noodle soups! Hands down the best way to start your day, imo...

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Re: Understanding Sources

Postby dogspoiler » Aug 16th, 2017, 2:11 pm

TylerM4 wrote:
This approach is certainly a step in the right direction. I would caution you however in that this approach could sometimes result in gathering common, outdated, or "popular" knowledge rather than current or accurate knowledge.

Here's an example: Margarine. Most people think it's bad/unhealthy for you and you are better off eating butter. But recent studies, analysis, and science actually says otherwise. Modern general consensus from people in the know (Mayo Clinic, Harvard Medical School, etc.) is that margarine vs butter is a bit of a tossup and neither are good for you. But having said that - some types of margarine are actually better for you (Non hydrogenated + Trans fat free). BUT - if you google margarine you'll likely find more people/references saying "Margarine is really bad for you". Google tends to return popular links over factual links.


I have no trouble sticking to current and reliable sources like NASA, Hubble, Woods Hole, and Penthouse.

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Re: Understanding Sources

Postby HP » Aug 18th, 2017, 10:56 am

Google tends to return popular links over factual links


It's worse than that. Much, much worse. Search engines and social media have created an echo chamber effect that gets built based on your browsing history, the things you like on facebook, the people whose posts you spend the most time reading, what you shop for on Amazon, etc. It's an advertising play and at the core the idea is that people don't want to see things or people that don't comply with their world view. To make it simple, if I'm a conservative then I won't be looking at ads on liberal websites so why even show me the liberal websites in the first place? You want to keep eyeballs on the screen so show 'friendly' content. The systems for making these determinations are much more sophisticated than most people realize.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Echo_chamber_(media)

Put this in the context of sources. Can I really trust anything I read on the Internet or am I just getting fed a stream of information that reinforces my worldview? Can I really get diversity of perspective in that kind of environment?


Unfortunately, we have reached a time when people who search with a slant can find information to suit their specific agenda.


And, sadly, all opinions get compared with equal credibility.

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Re: Understanding Sources

Postby TylerM4 » Aug 18th, 2017, 11:17 am

HP wrote:
Google tends to return popular links over factual links


It's worse than that. Much, much worse.


Fully agree with you, and I'd take it a step further to say it's even worse that you describe.

Google is happy to rate your site/article higher on their results list (or even include it when it normally wouldn't) if you pay them. Many companies use this to their advantage to sell products and mislead people.
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Re: Understanding Sources

Postby f/22 » Aug 19th, 2017, 8:22 am

TylerM4 wrote:I'm really concerned with the state of society in today's digital age.

Specifically - there are a LOT of people out there that don't question or consider the source of their information. Many people seem to automatically trust information they stumble across on Facebook or scientific information from news sites for example. The idea of "Unbiased, professionally gathered, peer-reviewed information from a reputable source" is completely foreign to many people.

The downstream impact being poor choices/decisions, incorrectly influencing others or their children, etc.

Anyone have ideas for how we as a society can help avoid this? Back in my schooling days - information source vetting wasn't really taught until you reached the college/university level. Perhaps something that now needs to be taught at the highschool level if it isn't already?


Wikipedia and KidzSearch

Recently, while I attended UCBO, my classes were encouraged to join and contribute to Wikipedia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:FAQ/Contributing

Also, the Wikimeda Foundation includes several projects dedicated to kids, including KidzTalk and KidzTube

http://wiki.kidzsearch.com/wiki/Wikimedia_Foundation
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Re: Understanding Sources

Postby TylerM4 » Aug 19th, 2017, 9:18 am

f/22 wrote:
Wikipedia and KidzSearch

Recently, while I attended UCBO, my classes were encouraged to join and contribute to Wikipedia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:FAQ/Contributing

Also, the Wikimeda Foundation includes several projects dedicated to kids, including KidzTalk and KidzTube

http://wiki.kidzsearch.com/wiki/Wikimedia_Foundation


I'm a big fan of Wikipedia and I think it's great that they're doing something similar for kids.

Many research buffs will stick their nose up at wikipedia as "anyone can place info there" so it's hard to confirm it's from a reputable source. BUT, the flip side is that the "Peer reviewed" component is very strong and false or misleading information is quickly removed. Not something you want to cite in your thesis but for the average Joe, wikipedia is a great resource IMO.

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Re: Understanding Sources

Postby f/22 » Aug 19th, 2017, 10:02 am

The citations are the key to credibility.

One of the jobs is to root out the bad stuff and replace it with the reliable.

Terms of usage:

The University of British Columbia

Using Google and Wikipedia Sources

http://wiki.ubc.ca/Using_Google_and_Wikipedia_Sources

Using Wikipedia for Research

While Wikipedia is sometimes considered to be off-limits for academic research, many students and faculty members still use it to get quick and easy access to information. In fact, Wikipedia can be a very helpful tool as you begin exploring a topic. However, it is important to be aware of Wikipedia's strengths and weakness, so that you can use this source effectively in your research process.

Although Wikipedia articles are not scholarly sources themselves (and typically should not be quoted in research papers), they frequently synthesize information from academic journal articles. As a result, they can serve as excellent entry points into the scholarly literature on a subject. Wikipedia articles can directly contribute to your research by providing the following elements: <snip>



Wikipedia: Wikipedia is not an acceptable citation

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia: ... e_citation

Wikipedia is probably the wrong source to cite unless the researcher is a university pupil. As with all encyclopedias, Wikipedia is a tertiary source and is rarely appropriate as a citation for academic, business, or journalistic research. The aim of such research is to uncover comprehensive and accurate information, which is located in primary sources and secondary sources.



LOL, and notice how KidzTalk is mostly written communication (with strict rules for images), although they do have that lazy, narcissistic, consumeristic-encouraging ‘participation points’ and ‘thumbs-up votes’ system, as well as include the all-pervading necessity: advertising (sigh).
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