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Opinion or Fact – Depends on The Source

December 7, 2020

When folks talk about doing their own research on the Internet, most are searching Google and finding opinions written by people about the subject matter of interest.

Those opinion pieces may be provided by persons with a particular point of view towards the subject of interest.

In selecting which of the many opinion articles available to read and/or believe, many people then choose those that reinforce their own view or concern.

This is consistent with a cognitive process called selection bias. The findings chosen reinforce a previously held perspective and thus strengthen it.

That is not research. That is reading opinions. Research involves the search for facts, whatever they may be. We then rely on the facts to build knowledge, not opinions or points of view.

In a sense, facts do not care or do not rely on our opinion. Facts stand on their own, without agenda.

The challenge of good research is to manage the effects of bias throughout the fact-finding process. Once something has been determined, then other researchers can review the process and some will run the same experiment to verify the outcome. There are established methods for doing so to address concern of bias in the follow-up research too.

I encourage people to read the original research reports rather than the opinion pieces written about then.

When people argue about so called research, it is more likely they are arguing the opinions of others, particularly those that are aligned with their own.

It is vital to always used trusted sources if relying on the interpretation of others.

If you want to read original research reports, there is another search engine specific available. It too is provided by Google and is called, “Google Scholar”. This is a search engine specific to scientific research reports, published in respected scientific journals.https://scholar.google.com/


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I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by video conferencing.

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Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
www.yoursocialworker.com for counseling and support

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Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, former parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

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