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The Sceptics Toolkit

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To explore newspaper coverage of news stories... With thanks to the authors, as credited in opening slide

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The Sceptics Toolkit

  1. 1. A Sceptics Toolkit Adapted from “Panicology” by Simon Briscoe & Hugh Aldersey-Williams Paperback edition published February 2009
  2. 2. When you are presented with some information which presents a particular viewpoint... …here are some questions that you could / should be asking yourself as you read it …
  3. 3. VESTED INTERESTS…  Who has written the information ?  Why have they done this ?  Are we being told the whole story ?
  4. 4. WEASEL WORDS…  Are certain ‘emotive’ words used to produce a reaction even when they are not necessarily relevant ?
  5. 5. SURVEYS…  Who conducted the survey ? Are they a credible organisation ?  Who paid for it to be carried out ?  How were the questions worded ?  How big was the sample ?  Is the sample size and margin of error shown ?
  6. 6. FIGURES…  Can figures be compared ?  If the data to allow you to compare aren’t there, why aren’t they ?  Be cautious about the use of statistics
  7. 7. PERCENTAGES OR ACTUAL NUMBERS…  The choice as to which one will depend on which seems the most impressive
  8. 8. Try it out...

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