critical thinking

critical thinking

Separating fact from non-fact

Separating fact from non-fact

The buzzwords are legion: Fake news, alternative facts, falsehoods. In the last three months, all these terms have been printed in newspapers, flashed on screens and rehashed on television on a nearly daily basis. It’s difficult to discern reliable data from opinion or lies these days. While there is no single sure-fire method for telling fact from non-fact, here are some tools to help you sort through the news today. Know your news First, it would help to know more about different kinds of inauthentic news sources. Fake news: While it’s simple to say that fake news is simply news that isn’t real, the truth is more complicated than that. According to media scientist Melissa Zimdars, fake news falls under … Continued
On the Lookout for Fake News

On the Lookout for Fake News

Did you hear that taurine can reverse the effects of tinnitus? Or that a man named Tom Ogle invented a carburetor that runs entirely on fuel vapors? Maybe you did, but hopefully you didn’t believe those stories – because they’re not true. Fake news is legion these days. According to Merrimack College professor Melissa Zimdars, fake news comes in one of four categories: 1 – Completely false news, with no factual basis 2 – News that is misleading or inaccurate 3 – News stories with attention grabbing headlines that may not have anything to do with their article’s content 4 – Satirical sites, whose content is meant to invoke humor And it’s not always easy to tell fake news from … Continued
Authority, accuracy, transparency and more: tips for being media literate

Authority, accuracy, transparency and more: tips for being media literate

Misinformation, either accidentally or intentionally, is prevalent online and it’s up to you to decipher fact from fiction. The ability to analyze, assess, evaluate, create and act on media is called media literacy. Similar to books and websites, media can be “read” for its content and educational value. Any work of media – a YouTube video, a news article, an alternative health website – can be viewed critically, using a set of criteria that can help you decide whether or not to trust it. For example, let’s say you’re researching why leaves change color in the fall. You stumble across an article on a naturopathic site which claims that leaves change as a result of pollution. The article has an … Continued
Putting It All Into Practice

Putting It All Into Practice

It’s finally finished! All your hard work paid off, and another semester is completed. Another milestone in your path to graduation, as an articulate, thoughtful, educated person with the knowledge, skills and attitudes for a productive life. But what you’ve learned isn’t behind you. Your classwork isn’t just a set of hoops to jump through – now, you can put that critical thinking into action. There are things in need of critical examination all around you. How is it that both a gecko and a woman with a 1960’s haircut can claim that they can save you more than the other one on car insurance? Can both of them be telling the truth, in certain situations? Or can you believe … Continued