Fact versus Opinion
- A fact is a statement that can be checked and proven through objective evidence. This evidence may come in the form of
the testimony of eye witnesses, agreed-upon observations, or the written records of such testimony and observations.
- An opinion is a statement that cannot be objectively proven true or false. Opinions usually express the beliefs, feelings,
or judgements that a person has about a subject.
- Facts can be verified or proven true.
- Statements of facts may be proven untrue due to new discoveries.
- People sometimes represent their opinions as facts. For example, The truth of the matter is.......
- Opinions are represented by emotionally filled words. For example, best, great, lowest, great, and better.
Avoid Bias, Propoganda, and Half-Truths
- Many writers try to remain as objective as possible but sometimes they include their point of view in what they communicate.
The information they give is therefore biased.
- Look for emotionally weighted words. Word choices that include positive or negative words are intended to express the
writers negative or positive attitude towards the subject. These words are meant to cause emotional reactions in readers.
- Writing intended to convert readers to a particulair point of view is called propaganda.
- Half-truths are statements that combine a fact and an interpretation. For example, Sarah has lost a substantial amount
of weight so she is anorexic. Sarah has lost a substantial amount of weight is true. We can look at Sarah and see this
is true but we do not know for sure what is causing her weight loss. It can be anything. Avoid sources that give facts then
take it into their own hands to interpret the facts.
- Stereotypes are conventional feelings or beliefs that are felt to be true about all people in a certain group.
- Avoid stereotypes because they are unfair generalizations about certain groups of people. There is no one fact proven
about about a certain group of people that apply to all people in that group.
- Search for ommited details in websites. When making a case, writers are occasionally tempted to omit facts that disprove
- Unbiased writers give the good and the bad facts. They face the bad facts and either explain why they do not apply or,
modify their original arguments.