I am very clear that I am anti-establishment rather than a political loyalist. This may deter many from taking any interest in what I have to say, but this article is not written to persuade you into my own political rationale. It is now more than ever most important to think critically about what you have read or watched if it is portrayed as factual. Luckily we live in a time where the resources to do such research are at our finger tips, but unfortunately we also live in a time where the majority of peoples time is consumed by work. With the immediacy of information available we should be able to do a little critical analysis of the information fed to us despite our ever increasing working hours. This post is to give you some tips on how to analyse the information provided to us as factual, be that through the news media, documentaries, studies, academia, and various other representations of fact.
· Always important to fact check the author of a piece. What is their background, what is their academic and society/cultural interests? Who do they work for, and who is financing their work? Investigate those financial supporters and their intentions. Also consider the financial capability of all those related to the pieces and how that might affect the writing.
· Consider who the target audience is. Are they writing to appease a specific audience? Do they use language specifically used within their community or audience?
· What are the aims and objectives of the source of information? Does it provide a conclusion? Does the evidence provided in the piece allow for this conclusion? Is it emotionally based or factually based? Do the statistics provide generalisations overall or gain greater depth of types of individuals within the group being discussed?
· How does the mode of the publication influence the approach or style adopted by the author? Is it an article with the flexibility to provide an emotional conclusion, assuming the audience is inclusive to the knowledge and emotions of the article or is it an academic study providing statistics and assuming the audience require further information on the specific language used, perhaps providing a glossary and such.
· What is the sociological context of the piece? Is it concentrated or generalised? Does it take into consideration generalisations or concentrated origins within the piece? Is it legal, environmental, regimental, economical based? What is the origin and scope of the information provided?
· What are the key arguments for the piece? How persuasive are those arguments? Are arguments persuasive for emotional or statistical reasons or both?
I hope you can spend a few moments after watching or reading any factual presentation considering these questions and critically analysing pieces in the future. With many losing trust in the mainstream news as of recent times due to obvious bias shown, many are understandably turning to the use of alternative media or academic studies. However, critical analysis still needs to be applied in all areas of society where factual information is provided, including education.
Are these things you consider yourself? Do you consider any other questions while providing critical analysis of a piece? Let me know in the comments below.