The Best Ways to Search for Reliable Information

Updated on December 27, 2017
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Dreamworker has a lifetime of business, career and financial experience she shares with her readers here.

If you want to stay properly informed, you need to find ways to access information that is credible,

Far too many people these days rely on sources such as Facebook and biased television news or magazine reports to form their opinions about the issues in life that can either negatively or positively affect them.

They think that because they see something on TV or see it on the internet it is the truth, but this may or may not be the case.

However, if these same people would take the time to do some research, they would find the truth of the things they hear and see on TV and the internet.

Learn the best methods for finding credible information.
Learn the best methods for finding credible information. | Source

Misinformation Abounds

Recently a woman on Facebook accused Senator Jeff Flake of abusing and killing 20 dogs, saying that she would never vote for him if he ever ran for the position of President.

Most people would read that and think that Flake was a horrible human being, but I took the time to do some research and found these facts:

  • Sheriff Joe Arpaio (who was arrested for illegally detaining Hispanics and then pardoned by President Trump before he could be sentenced) brought charges against Flake's son and his wife.
  • No charges were filed because the charges were proven groundless.
  • The son's in-laws pleaded guilty and were charged for animal cruelty.
  • Flakes son is now suing Arpaio for trying to smear Senator Flake politically on behalf or President Trump.

Apparently the smear is working because all people saw was the name "Flake" and the terms "killed dogs", and that was enough for her to post horrid comments publicly about Senator Flake.

Since something didn't seem right to me when I read the woman's comments, I accessed reports about this issue from the Washington Post, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.

All agreed that that Flake's son and his wife were innocent and that Flake had nothing to do with the issue.

Emotions Distort Truth

When people use their personal biases to influence the information that comes their way the result is often a distortion of the truth.

If you want to find the truth, you need to set emotions aside and just look at the facts.

Furthermore, those facts must come from credible sources. Otherwise, they are worthless.

Our President has made many believe that all media based information is fake, thus making people mistrust the information they hear or see that disagrees with their own biases.

This, is why people need to investigate multiple sources and make sure that each is factual, not biased or based on political, religious or other beliefs if they want to obtain good, reliable information.

This is where remembering to "trust but verify" comes into play.

Never let your emotions get in the way of learning the truth.
Never let your emotions get in the way of learning the truth. | Source

Research Methods That Work

Staying well informed is the best way to deal with issues that can either negatively or positively impact your life.

There several methods for doing this, but none of them will work if you avoid using reliable sources and investigating them with a neutral attitude.

To learn what you need to know you can

  1. read articles and books,
  2. fact check information you receive on sites such as Politico,
  3. search the internet,
  4. talk with those who have training or experience with your issue,
  5. watch videos about your topic or
  6. follow news reports from non-biased radio and TV stations.

If you persevere and make it a point to be specific, you'll get the facts and can then use them as the basis for making decisions.

Read Articles and Books

Reading articles and books can be very helpful in learning about an issue. However, you have to take care that the materials you choose to research have been written by credible authors.

By this I mean that you need research the author as well as his work!

You can do this by reading biographies, autobiographies or reviews about writers. You also would want to read work by people who are well respected in their fields.

Years ago a good friend told me that I should always pay attention to the source of any advice people give me.

For example, it's not the best idea to take advice about marriage from someone who has never had a successful marriage or who has been divorced!

Many people have written books about losing weight that people have taken on face value only to discover that some diets were unhealthy to follow and others were downright dangerous!

Therefore, any research of written material should be done carefully , and you should always verify the credentials of its author.

Check the Facts

There are a number of internet sites you can access that check facts for you in addition to Politico.com such as Snopes.com and FactCheck.org.

Using several sources also helps to create a better picture of the truth for you. However, you should only trust information whose author's name is listed or from well known organizations such as the Arthritis Foundation.

You should always use sources such as these to make sure that what you are reading is reliable, otherwise, it might not be!

If properly used, the internet can be a good source of credible information.
If properly used, the internet can be a good source of credible information. | Source

Research The Internet

One of the problems with information you get from the internet is that so many people can create it. As a result, it's hard to be sure about what is true.

If you stick to credible sites such as the one from the Mayo Clinic, read research articles that have citations, research government websites or articles that are recent than older than 15 years, you're much more likely to get good information.

Social Networking sites, blogs and self authored sites are not nearly as credible and can actually provide faulty information that can harm you.

Therefore, using the internet as a source can be tricky. You can protect yourself by paying attention to who is creating the information.

Listen Only to the Voice of Experience

Over the years I have learned the hard way that people tend to give advice about many things about which they know nothing.

For this reason, if you want information, you should take the time to seek out people who have knowledge of your issue.

They don't have to be professionals, although these would be your best first choice. However, they do need to have experience as well as some level of success in the area you wish to learn about.

If you are having a problem with your car, for example, a car salesman is the wrong person to talk to about it. However, a good mechanic can usually tell you what you need to know.

How do you find a good mechanic? You talk to people you trust who have had good experiences with mechanics and then us the information to seek them out!

As with all professions, there are both good and bad, so if you don't do this and get advice from a bad mechanic, you're going to run into problems.

Many people have what they call "bad luck" simply because they did not take that extra step to verify their source before seeking advice from him.

Watch Pertinent Videos

Not everybody reads well or can retain information gained through reading. Therefore a good source of information for them about some things is to watch videos.

YouTube is a terrific source for gaining information, but again, you need to verify your sources and use only credible ones.

If you are seeking information about ingrown toenail removal, for example, your best source would be a video produced by a foot doctor. By watching several of them you will get good, safe information as opposed to the advice you will get from people who do their own ingrown toenail treatments at home.

I watched one of these last year that showed a man with filthy hands using a huge hunting knife to cut into his son's toenail. He swore that his method worked, but it sure didn't look good to me!

Use Credible Media Sources

Many people get their information from watching news reports put out by radio and television stations.

There is nothing wrong with doing this if viewers make sure that the information they are receiving is based on facts and not biases.

If you want the real stories, listen to or watch broadcasts from several different stations. You might be surprised to see just how different the reporting can be!

Stay Well Informed

Life is hard.

The best way for people to protect themselves from its problems is to stay informed.

The only way to stay properly informed is to use the best methods available for finding reliable information.

People who choose not to do this often suffer dire consequences and never understand why this happens to them.

They wonder why some people do better in life than they do, but refuse to make the effort to find out what they need to know be it how to cook a meal or how to behave on a job interview.

Life is hard, but you can make it easier by making it a point to research properly.

Do you think that following the advice in this article will be helpful to you?

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© 2017 Sondra Rochelle

Comments

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  • Dabby Lyric profile image

    Dabby Lyric 5 weeks ago from US

    You are very welcome!

  • Dreamworker profile image
    Author

    Sondra Rochelle 5 weeks ago from USA

    Dabby Lyric: This comment is spot on. This country is falling apart because people are to self conscious, frightened or lazy to take the time to find facts. Nobody who is being honest should mind if someone probes them for information. When they become hateful or difficult, that is when people should make it a point to speak up. Great comment. Thanks so much.

  • Dabby Lyric profile image

    Dabby Lyric 5 weeks ago from US

    Excellent Article!

    You handled this with the right amount of assertiveness and disdain.

    This topic is so important to the WORLD! So many people go through life being scared/shy/ignorant to speak up and ask the right questions. It bothers me greatly to see it, especially with friends and family!

    We've been dumbed down as a society for so long that the average person wouldn't think too harshly or ask questions for information that they want answers for. Their minds are not their anymore-sadly. The masses have let society run them and we have to stop that.

    We have to start thinking for ourselves!

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