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UGS 302: African Cosmopolitanisms / Adelakun

Information as evidence

What role does information play as evidence?

Journalism / Reporting: journalists report and investigate. They report on current events, what's happening in local, state and national government and developments in the sciences. So, this might look like a journalist reading a scientific study that is written for experts and condensing it for a general audience. Local journalism is essential for calling to attention how issues impact our community and citizens.

  • You found a news article reporting on a planned development that may interfere with a salamander habitat. What role does this article serve as evidence?

Magazines: Unlike news reporting, magazines typically have an audience in mind when they choose which stories to report and what perspective to take. Magazines often do a good job of elevating personal stories through interviews.

  • You find an interview with a business leader who believes that economic growth in town is hindered by protecting salamanders. What role would this article serve as evidence?

Data: Data can come from institutions like UT and from government entities at every level. Collecting, organizing and providing access to vast troves of data is expensive and difficult. Government plays an essential role here for researchers.

  • You find annual data about local salamander counts. What role might this serve as evidence?

Scholarship: Typically, those who write in academic journals are...academics! But some disciplines may have experts working in government or in the private sector. Every discipline favors different research methods specific to their field. Academic articles go through the peer review process wherein a panel of an author's peers (folks studying the same questions the author is engaged with) evaluate the article for novelty, reliability, ethics and engagement with the existing scholarship in the field. The audience for these articles is the author's peers - experts in the same field.

  • You find an article about water salinity levels and its impacts on salamander populations. What role might this serve as evidence?

Here is a graphic of how the work of a scientist is reported upon by a journalist and then consumed by the general public.

how information is passed from researchers studying a problem to a reporter to the reader

copyright Elise Nacca, 2017

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