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Evaluate Information

Evaluate Information

Description:

This lesson will explain how to evaluate scientific information to be sure it is credible and usable. It will also describe how and why science is relevant and important to your everyday life.

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Tutorial

What's Covered

Welcome to this lesson on evaluating scientific information. Today, we will be discussing:

  1. Terms Used In Properly Evaluating Scientific Information
  2. Ensuring Credible Information

1. Terms Used In Properly Evaluating Scientific Information

You’re going to start by defining three terms that will help you to understand how to properly evaluate scientific information.

  • FACT

The first one that you’re going to define is a fact; a fact is verifiable information. A fact is something that you know is true and that you can verify is true.

Term to Know

Fact

A piece of information known to be true and can be verified.

Example It is 100 degrees Fahrenheit outside today. That is something that you can prove is true and that you can verify, so that's a fact.

  • OPINION

The next term that you’re going define here is opinion. An opinion is something that is based on personal judgment and might not be based on fact. It's something that a person, himself, is judging. It's based on a personal judgment that a person might have.

Term to Know

Opinion

A piece of information that involves personal judgment.

Example It is hot outside today, so your fact was it's 100 degrees Fahrenheit. An opinion based on that fact might be, it is hot outside. This is based on personal judgment and it could vary from person to person. So one person might think that 100 degrees Fahrenheit is hot, but another person might not. It's something based on personal judgment.

  • BIAS

The third term is bias and a bias is a swayed opinion. It's based off an opinion, but it's a swayed opinion based on a person's personal experience.

Term to Know

Bias

An opinion swayed by personal experience.

Example If you live in Minnesota, your opinion may that Minnesota is the best state, but it's a swayed opinion based on your personal experience because that's where you live.


2. Ensuring Credible Information

When you're evaluating information and trying to figure out if information is credible, you need to look at these key points. Credible information should always be:

  • Peer reviewed
  • Thoroughly checked with a reliable source
  • Backed by scientific evidence

Think About It

How do you know if a source is reliable or not?

ANSWER: When you're trying to figure out if information is credible, you should always think critically about that information or about the source of the information. Thinking critically means using systematic strategies to help judge that information.

Think About It

If you were looking up information, which source would be more credible? Would a scientific journal be more credible, or would Wikipedia be more credible?

ANSWER: We know it would be the scientific journal would be more credible, because it's been peer reviewed, thoroughly checked, and backed by scientific evidence. Whereas, Wikipedia is more of a public domain area.

Think About It

If you're looking up information on cancer, would you get credible information going to a friend, or do you think that information would be more credible on the American Cancer Society website?

ANSWER: It would be the American Cancer Society website, because again, we know that information is peer reviewed, thoroughly checked, and backed by scientific evidence. Your friend's information might involve some opinion or some bias. Whereas the American Cancer Society website is based strictly on facts. That's the difference between finding credible information and information that might not be as credible.


Summary

This lesson has been an overview on evaluating scientific information. Credible information should be based on facts-- things that we know are true and we can prove are true. Credible information is not based on opinions or bias. Remembering that credible information is always peer reviewed, thoroughly checked with a reliable source, and backed by scientific evidence will help you to determine if information is credible.

Keep up the learning and have a great day!

Source: THIS WORK IS ADAPTED FROM SOPHIA AUTHOR AMANDA SODERLIND

TERMS TO KNOW
  • Fact

    ​A piece of information known to be true and can be verified.

  • Opinion

    ​A piece of information that involves personal judgment.

  • Bias

    An opinion swayed by personal experience.