In society today, we’re regularly bombarded and often misled with tons of information, meaning that critical thinking and the ability to properly judge the quality of information we receive is becoming increasingly difficult.
Nevertheless, there are several ways we can judge the quality of information we receive – These criteria can help us make better analysis and find relevant information in a noise filled age.
- Evaluate the credibility of the source & author: This step is very crucial in judging information. There’s the widely held belief that the more credible a source or an author are, the higher the quality of the information. This isn’t an inaccurate statement to make as credible sources and authors typically have the experience and mastery of their fields to back up the information they present to us. However, as receivers, we should still thoroughly evaluate the credibility of our sources because on some occasions, the most popular authors and sources aren’t actually the most informative. With the crazy evolution of the internet and digital media, information is literally at our finger tips. Make sure to watch out for bias, and overzealous claims when absorbing information.
- Do your own research: Research, research, research! This point can’t be stated enough. Research is important because it teaches us to take responsibility for the information we consume. When you conduct your own research, you’re able to differentiate between information types and organize the information based on level of importance and credibility. For example, say you’re looking for information on sustainable clothing and are worried that the information you’ve previously received isn’t reliable enough, you can fill that knowledge gap by exploring more information sources and comparing the content with what you previously received. Research opens the door to diversity of information which makes it easier to judge quality when there are more options.
- Ask more questions: Following the previous point, learning to challenge information we’ve already heard is another way to assess information quality. If you’re able to spark curiosity and constructively challenge (not bash) the information you receive, you’ll find that not every bit of information is in fact useful or relevant. You’ll also be able to navigate the information dead sea, avoid information overload and allow yourself to absorb only the data that suits your needs.