What's the Evidence?
"When evidence is attractively presented, convincingly stated, or aligns with our beliefs, it can be tempting to accept it without stopping to ask whether the evidence comes from a trustworthy source. Even worse, we might fail to consider whether the evidence directly supports the claims being made." --from Evaluating Evidence (2019), by the Stanford History Education Group.
Whether it's a video, a picture, a gif, a tweet, or a post on social media, there are a few questions we should ask about any information we find online.
- What's the source? Do you know who created the content? Are they an expert in the field, or a journalist? Do you know if they have any personal or financial biases? Answering this will help you determine the reliability of the claim.
- Does the evidence actually relate to and support the claim being made? Is there proof that the video or picture is taken where the poster claims? Does it actually show what they say? Answering this will determine whether the evidence is relevant to the claim.
So next time you come across a post online, stop and ask these two questions before you like or share.
Information adapted from Stanford History Education Group's Intro to What's the Evidence (2019) lesson plan.