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From Penn State University Libraries
- What are your honest opinions regarding the topic?
- Have you addressed your internal biases?
- Make an all-inclusive list of counter-opinions or counter-arguments.
Finding unbiased resources:
- Conduct a general knowledge overview.
- Search for information in : encyclopedias, wikis, dictionaries, etc.
- Identify credible materials for all of the viewpoints - yours and the additional you identified
- Reject unsound arguments - have the courage to accept that not all viewpoints are valid
- Who is the author (may be individual or organization) and/or publisher?
- What are the credentials and affiliation or sponsorship of any named individuals or organizations?
- How objective, reliable, and authoritative are they?
- Have they written other articles or books?
- Is/Are the author(s) listed with contact information (street address, e-mail)?
- Do they specialize in publishing certain topics or fields?
Purpose/Point of view of source
- Does the author have an agenda beyond education or information?
- What can be said about the content, context, style, structure, completeness and accuracy of the information provided by the source?
- Are any conclusions offered? If so, based on what evidence and supported by what primary and secondary documentation?
- What is implied by the content?
- Are diverse perspectives represented?
- Is the content relevant to your information needs?
- Why was the information provided by the source published?
- What are the perspectives, opinions, assumptions and biases of whoever is responsible for this information?
- Who is the intended audience?
- Is anything being sold?
- Does the publisher have an agenda?
- When was the information published?
- Publication date is generally located on the title page or on the reverse side of the title page (copyright date).
- Is the information provided by the source in its original form or has it been revised to reflect changes in knowledge?
- Has the publisher published other works?
- Is this information timely and is it updated regularly?
- Is the publisher scholarly (university press, scholarly associations)? Commercial? Government agency? Self (“vanity”) press?
List of resources
- Where else can the information provided by the source be found?
- Is this information authentic?
- Is this information unique or has it been copied?
Year of publication
- Is this information current? Can you find more current or relevant information?
- Is the cited information current? Make sure work is not based on outdated research, statistics, data, etc.
- Is the information routinely updated?
An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments by
Call Number: BC177.A46 2014
Publication Date: 2014-09-23
"A flawless compendium of flaws." --Alice Roberts, PhD, anatomist, writer, and presenter of The Incredible Human Journey The antidote to fuzzy thinking, with furry animals! Have you read (or stumbled into) one too many irrational online debates? Ali Almossawi certainly had, so he wrote An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments! This handy guide is here to bring the internet age a much-needed dose of old-school logic (really old-school, a la Aristotle). Here are cogent explanations of the straw man fallacy, the slippery slope argument, the ad hominem attack, and other common attempts at reasoning that actually fall short--plus a beautifully drawn menagerie of animals who (adorably) commit every logical faux pas. Rabbit thinks a strange light in the sky must be a UFO because no one can prove otherwise (the appeal to ignorance). And Lion doesn't believe that gas emissions harm the planet because, if that were true, he wouldn't like the result (the argument from consequences). Once you learn to recognize these abuses of reason, they start to crop up everywhere from congressional debate to YouTube comments--which makes this geek-chic book a must for anyone in the habit of holding opinions.
A Field Guide to Lies by
Call Number: BC177.L486 2016
Publication Date: 2016-09-06
From The New York Times bestselling author of The Organized Mind and This is Your Brain on Music, a primer to the critical thinking that is more necessary now than ever. We are bombarded with more information each day than our brains can process--especially in election season. It's raining bad data, half-truths, and even outright lies. New York Times bestselling author Daniel J. Levitin shows how to recognize misleading announcements, statistics, graphs, and written reports revealing the ways lying weasels can use them. It's becoming harder to separate the wheat from the digital chaff. How do we distinguish misinformation, pseudo-facts, distortions, and outright lies from reliable information? Levitin groups his field guide into two categories--statistical infomation and faulty arguments--ultimately showing how science is the bedrock of critical thinking. Infoliteracy means understanding that there are hierarchies of source quality and bias that variously distort our information feeds via every media channel, including social media. We may expect newspapers, bloggers, the government, and Wikipedia to be factually and logically correct, but they so often aren't. We need to think critically about the words and numbers we encounter if we want to be successful at work, at play, and in making the most of our lives. This means checking the plausibility and reasoning--not passively accepting information, repeating it, and making decisions based on it. Readers learn to avoid the extremes of passive gullibility and cynical rejection. Levitin's charming, entertaining, accessible guide can help anyone wake up to a whole lot of things that aren't so. And catch some lying weasels in their tracks!
Call Number: BC177.N57 2015
Publication Date: 2015-08-18
"The most influential thinker, in my life, has been the psychologist Richard Nisbett. He basically gave me my view of the world." -Malcolm Gladwell, New York Times Book Review Scientific and philosophical concepts can change the way we solve problems by helping us to think more effectively about our behavior and our world. Surprisingly, despite their utility, many of these tools remain unknown to most of us. In Mindware, the world-renowned psychologist Richard E. Nisbett presents these ideas in clear and accessible detail. Nisbett has made a distinguished career of studying and teaching such powerful problem-solving concepts as the law of large numbers, statistical regression, cost-benefit analysis, sunk costs and opportunity costs, and causation and correlation, probing the best methods for teaching others how to use them effectively in their daily lives. In this groundbreaking book, Nisbett shows us how to frame common problems in such a way that these scientific and statistical principles can be applied to them. The result is an enlightening and practical guide to the most essential tools of reasoning ever developed-tools that can easily be used to make better professional, business, and personal decisions.
There Are Two Errors in the Title of This Book by
Publication Date: 1992-09-01