A Guide to Kinda Looking Smart on the Internet: How to Find and Evaluate Online Information
We frequently talk about scientific issues because they are important to us. Each day we encounter hundreds of news articles and blog posts talking about science. For many of us, scientists cannot seem to make up their minds and everything is controversial. If we take a look at any one of the polarized issues in public science debates such as vaccines, GMOs, or climate change, two sides both present an abundance of scientific literature. If we look at both sides of the literature, we see that there are reputable professionals on each side and the research on both sides seems just as thorough as the other. We all need to talk about science although we may not be scientists ourselves. Science affects us all. However, one of the most frustrating issues for many of us is trying to find the information we need then figuring out if that information is reliable and credible. If people with an extensive science background cannot agree on scientific issues, how can the public distinguish the good information from the bad? Finding and evaluating information online is frustrating, but some of these following tools should make the detective work a little easier. Through investigation, and by challenging our own assumptions, we can often find that there really aren’t two sides to every story.