Fake news has entered the political dictionary over the last year. Suddenly, politicians and commentators are worried that elections are being influenced by false stories being circulated that appear to be genuine. Social media platforms are under pressure to filter out such stories raising the old questions of censorship and “who guards the guards?” However, evidence on the extent and influence of fake news is thin on the ground.
Welcome to my first post where I put my Evidence Hierarchy or Circle into practice and show you what is behind the headline.
Today I am concentrating on science and technology related articles from the BBC website since that is accessible to nearly everyone. As always, I am critiquing the article more than the research since I have not read the research papers that motivated the article. The 3 articles are:
- “Fruit shaped sensor can improve freshness“.
- “Robots to affect up to 30% of jobs“
- “Dinosaurs may have UK origin“
“Graduates aren’t skilled enough!” says a BBC headline. What is your immediate reaction? If you decide to find out more and read the article, you will see the following.
- A brief reference to a survey of a 174 organisations, half of whom are apparently moaning graduate skills.
- 3 brief interviews with recent graduates asking what they wish they had learned before starting their job.
After reading this, do you feel that a case has been made that universities are slipping up? How much weight should you place on this article and the information it contains? One of the major problems with news these days is that we are bombarded with articles about so many things that it can difficult to sort the good from the bad, especially when articles are referring to data in one way or another. My Evidence Hierarchy provides a short cut to assess the usefulness of news articles and with a bit of practice, I hope the result will be less stress for you about what is going on in the world.