1. Consider the source
Where is the information you are reading, watching or listening to coming from? If you are reading something from a website, for example, make sure it’s not an advert.
2. Who is it written for?
Sometimes you can get a feeling for something you read or hear based on the level of vocabulary. For example, if you were reading something about the state of the global economy and you read a sentence that says something like ‘The choice the government made was bad because a lot of people became poor and could not pay their bills.‘ then the level of the vocabulary should indicate that this is not a reliable source for a formal situation. This is why you need to understand critical thinking – in a formal situation, if you send an email in language that is basic and not fit for the tone, it will be evaluated by the reader.
3. Is the language dogmatic or excessive?
This is common with articles that have a political bias. The Prime Minister has not yet responded to questions about…. V The Prime Minister has flatly refused to answer.
4. Identify the author’s purpose and point of view
Understanding the author’s intentions and perspective is crucial to critically evaluating an article. Consider why the author wrote the article, what message they are trying to convey, and whether they have any biases or conflicts of interest that may influence their writing.
5. Reflect on your own biases and assumptions
Recognize and question your own beliefs and values that may influence your interpretation of the article. Consider how your personal experiences and background may shape your perspective and be open to alternative viewpoints.