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PSYC 1: General Psychology 1 (Del Chiaro): Activity 1

Activity 1

Compare the two lists below. Which elements are similar in the two lists? Working with a partner, write your answers in this Padlet.

October 18th Class

Baloney Detection Kit

The Baloney Detection Kit

  1. How reliable is the source of the claim?
  2. Does the source make similar claims?
  3. Have the claims been verified by somebody else?
  4. Does this fit with the way the world works?
  5. Has anyone tried to disprove the claim?
  6. Where does the preponderance of evidence point?
  7. Is the claimant playing by the rules of science?
  8. Is the claimant providing positive evidence?
  9. Does the new theory account for as many phenomena as the old theory?
  10. Are personal beliefs driving the claim?

Credibility of Sources

How to Evaluate the Credibility of Sources

1. Author credentials

  • Is the author an expert/authority in the field
    • Earned a degree in the field
    • Has extensive experience in the field
  • A knowledgeable amateur
  • Limited knowledge of the topic, but has an opinion

2. Author bias

  • Difficult to remove personal bias completely
  • Academic discipline can add bias
    • Psychologists use different tools than Sociologists so might get different results
    • Liberal and conservative political scientists might interpret information differently

3. Quality of the publication

  • Some academic journals are higher quality than others
  • Does the source specialize in this topic or is the topic tangential to its focus

4. Is the article peer reviewed

  • Peer reviewed papers have other experts review the research before publication
  • Edited books have an editor who organizes and directs other authors 
  • Popular journals and newspapers have an editor who approves articles before publication

5. Type of publication

  • The type of publication shapes the information presented
    • A book is very different than a journal article
    • A documentary is different than a motion picture
    • A statistical table is different than presenting the information via written text
  • McLuhan - the medium is the message

6. Date of publication

  • The need for current information varies by academic discipline
    • Sciences (e.g., biology, computer science) - information changes rapidly so usually need information from last 1-2 years
    • Social Sciences (e.g., psychology, communications) - usually need information published in the last 10-20 years
    • Humanities (e.g., literature, philosophy) - information changes slowly, even ancient texts like the works of Aristotle are still important
  • Type of information
    • Reports on an experiment might become outdated relatively fast
    • Theoretical or philosophical texts might have a long life

7. Is the information verifiable?

  • If you publish the results of an experiment, can others duplicate the results
  • Are sources included in a bibliography used accurately

8. Evidence presented supports the conclusion(s)

  • Does the evidence point one way but the conclusion goes in a different direction
  • Does the conclusion raise issues not covered by the research

9. Line between fact and opinion is clear

  • A peer reviewed journal might have essays, research articles, and book reviews
  • Does a newspaper indicate if an article is reporting an event, an analysis, or is the article a commentary/opinion piece