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CAS 120 - Interpersonal Communication (Johnson)

This guide provides resources to support the CAS 120 course and assignments.

Goals for Today's Class

This session will look at how we examine resources carefully and critically. 

1/Analyze an article by Neil Postman on what to look for in chosing resources to use for a speech.

2/ Apply those criteria to specific sites. How to spot fake news/misinformation.

3/Look at features of a Research Guide created for this class that highlights academic databases.Examples. Finding resources on "the academic conversation."


Reflection on Class Discussion

Reviewing Postman's article here are the Red Flags he mentions:

  • Pomposity
  • Fanaticism
  • Eichmannism
  • Inanity
  • Superstition

The other Red Flags mentioned in class are:

  • Misinformation
  • Unsupported Assumptions
  • Confirmation Bias
  • Substution of anecdotes for data
  • Deliberate Disingenuousness

All of these things help us to distinguish opinion and fact and to critically analyze what we choose to provide as supporting factual evidence for our own claims.

In class:

1/How to spot fake news. Consider the source. Check the author. Check the date. Check your biases. Read beyond. Does the source provide supporting sources? is it a joke? Ask the experts?

2/Investigate the article given to you based on the above criteria. 

3/Place the parent source on the whiteboard continuum.

Garbage-Fake news-Biased-Advocacy-Objective/Neutral-Government Site-Factual but not peer reviewed-Well supported with credible, supporting evidence-Peer Reviewed.

Sources: Types, Credibility, Synthesis

1.  One of the first things to think about is what are the kinds of sources to use in giving a speech?

  • Books or e-books
  • Articles: journals, magazines, newspapers
  • Statistics

Start with Zondervan Library tools and resources. Why?

The content is reliable and the statistics are solid.

2. Next consider the credibility of what you have found.

Here is an easy way to remember what to look for when evaluating the information that you find. These questions will help you assess what you might find most useful.    CARS: Credibility, Accuracy, Reasonableness, Support

Credibility. Is this source trustworthy? What are the author’s credentials? Is he or she known or a respected authority on this topic?  Is there evidence of quality control?   Goal: an authoritative source, a source that supplies some good evidence that allows you to trust it.

Accuracy. Is the informatio up to date, factual, detailed, exact, comprehensive? What is the intended audience and purpose? Does it reflect intentions of completeness and accuracy. Goal: a source that is correct today (not yesterday), a source that gives the whole truth.

Reasonableness.  Is the presentation fair, balanced, objective, reasoned? Can you find that the author has no conflict of interest? Is there an absence of fallacies or slanted tone. Goal: a source that engages the subject thoughtfully and reasonably, concerned with the truth.

Support:  Does this information provide background sources or references? Is there contact information for the author? Are claims supported, documentated and corroborated?. Goal: a source that provides convincing evidence for the claims made, a source you can triangulate (that is are you able to find at least two other sources (non web) that support it). 

taken from Virtual Salt. Robert Harris

3. Synthesizing the sources.  Once you have gathered a variety of sources, look over them and determine how they fit together and relate to your topic.

  1. What am I trying to say? Do my sources support my ideas?
  2. How does the information from your sources align with your claims? How well does the information tie together?
  3. What ideas seem most common within the information you have gathered?
  4. What pieces should be used as quotations? What should be paraphrased?
  5. How much statistical information do you want to give? How many examples? What are the best examples to use?