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4.4: FACT & OPINION IN READING AND WRITING

  • Page ID
    13873
  • When you are reading or listening to information, evaluate the author’s style as well as use of fact and opinion to determine how you should value this information.

    OBJECTIVITY VS. BIAS

    Ideally, authors publish objective texts, leaving their emotions out of it. Keeping the writing too clinical, though, can alienate audiences, so with the exception of research article, you rarely see work published that is entirely objective. Even dry research articles can have hidden biases because humans are imperfect beings, and authors are human. There are going to be flaws in logic, or sometimes facts may be inadvertently omitted. That is to be expected. When we identify information as being reported objectively, we mean that the author did a reasonable job of reporting the information unemotionally.

    On the other end of the spectrum, is something that has a negative connotation –bias. We use the term bias to refer to an author who presents information in a way that is prejudiced and does not present differing opinions fairly, or at all.

    In academic reading, and in daily life, it is important to have the ability to identify and evaluate information that is presented objectively or with bias.

    In academic writing, you are expected to aim for objectivity and avoid bias in your work. This means not only doing your best to communicate your points fairly, but also means using objective information as sources for your work.

    Activity:

    Your instructor will provide you with a text.

    1. Work with your partner or small group to identify the author’s use of fact and opinion. Consider using color coding or “F” and “O” to identify facts and opinions in the piece.

    2. Is this text credible? Why or why not?

    3. Be prepared to participate in a class discussion on this activity.

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