4.5: Fact and Opinion in Reading
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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-Class Exercise: Fact vs Opinion
Your instructor will provide you with a text. Answer the following questions.
- Read and annotate the article.
- Identify the author’s use of fact and opinion, using color coding and/or “F” and “O” to identify facts and opinions in the piece.
- Is this text credible? Why or why not?
UNIT 4 Review
Create a graphic organizer (samples can be found in the Course Resources section) that you find useful to rehearse and review the information covered in this Unit.