The Importance of Distinguishing Facts from Opinions in Research: A Lesson Learned

Over the past few years, I have delved into extensive research on topics such as Toxic Traits, Narcissism, and Adult Bullies. As an emotional person, one of the most valuable lessons I have learned during my research is the ability to distinguish facts from opinions. In this blog post, I hope to shed light on this crucial distinction and emphasize the significance of relying on factual evidence rather than personal opinions.

The Illusion of Believing Everything You Read:

In this age of information overload, it is imperative to recognize that not everything we read can be taken at face value. While various domains may contain valuable facts, it is important to identify when opinions are being presented. Opinion-signalling words such as “it appears” and “it seems” are clear indicators that what follows is subjective rather than based on concrete evidence. A careful evaluation of documents with signalling words helps avoid mistaking opinions for factual information. Over time, you learn to tell the difference!

Proven Facts and Corroborating Evidence:

Facts are simple, indisputable, and can be proven through corroborating evidence. Instead of blindly accepting information, we must seek evidence that substantiates claims. For instance, in a case involving evicted tenants who refused access, the fact that they were denying entry can be proven by their own written documents. The presence of factual evidence, such as an order released on a particular date, lends credibility to the claims being made.

Personal Experience as a Proof of Factual Reality:

In some cases, personal experiences can serve as concrete evidence of factual reality. For instance, it is a fact that I was never present at a restaurant called Dragon Roll on Eglinton Ave in Toronto at no time in June 2016. I can prove this. Consequently, claims made by others suggesting my presence at the restaurant during that time must be dismissed as fabrications. They made it up.

Understanding Legal Provisions and Their Implications:

Legal provisions play a significant role in determining facts and opinions. For example, the Residential Tenancy Act stipulates that 24 hours’ written notice is unnecessary if the tenant grants permission to access. Based on this provision, when a mix-up occurred with pest control, I promptly reached out to the affected tenants via various communication channels seeking permission to enter the premises for pest treatment, which they gave by text. Those who failed to grant permission violated landlord rights, leading to the issuance of Form N5. She could have said “no” rather than “okay” to my request.

Discrepancies Exposed Through Timelines:

Timelines are powerful tools for revealing discrepancies between claims and factual evidence. In this particular case, it was evident that allegations of racism and discrimination were made by the tenants in a letter dated August 31, 2016. However, this letter was sent approximately 2 1/2 months after the alleged meeting at the restaurant in June 2016. Such a time gap suggests a lack of consistency and casts doubt on the authenticity of the claims. If this meeting occurred as they claimed, why wait so long to mention it to anyone?

Police Collaboration and the Pursuit of Facts:

Engaging with the police and victim services brought me face-to-face with the necessity of providing facts rather than opinions. Before approaching them, I needed to ensure that my timeline was based on factual evidence rather than unfounded speculations. The police required concrete information, allowing them to access relevant websites and draw their own conclusions. By distinguishing between facts and opinions, I could provide them with the necessary clarity.

Through my journey of researching toxic traits, narcissism, and adult bullies, the ability to differentiate facts from opinions has become an invaluable skill. By carefully analyzing information and seeking corroborating evidence, we can navigate through the vast ocean of knowledge with greater confidence. I know I do!!

Establishing a foundation based on facts rather than personal opinions ensures that our arguments and conclusions are well-grounded. Let us strive for a society that values the pursuit of truth and embraces factual evidence as the driving force behind progress.

WHAT IS A FACT?

A fact refers to something true and can be verified as such. That is, a fact is something that can be proven to be true. 

WHAT IS AN OPINION?

An opinion refers to a personal belief. It relates to how someone feels about something. Others may agree or disagree with an opinion but cannot prove or disprove it. This is what defines it as opinion.

THE LANGUAGE OF FACTS AND OPINIONS: SIGNAL WORDS AND PHRASES

Writers will liven up their facts with a sprinkling of opinions. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be challenging to extract the verifiable truths from the author’s preferences and biases. Luckily, the language used often throws up helpful clues in the forms of words and phrases that assist us in identifying statements as fact-based or opinion-based.

Let’s now take a look at some examples of those signal words and phrases being used in the sentence fragments that often precede a statement of fact or opinion:

FACT SIGNAL WORDS

  • The annual report confirms
  • Scientists have recently discovered
  • According to the results of the tests…
  • The investigation demonstrated

OPINION SIGNAL WORDS

  • He claimed that…
  • It is the officer’s view that…
  • The report argues that…
  • Many scientists suspect that…

As we can see from the signal word examples, the language used to introduce fact, and opinion statements can help indicate whether it is being framed as a fact or an opinion.

Students must understand that things are not always as they appear to be. At times, writers, whether consciously or not, will frame opinion as fact and vice versa. This is why it is vital that students develop a clear understanding of what constitutes fact and opinion and are afforded ample opportunities to practice distinguishing between the two.

https://literacyideas.com/teaching-fact-and-opinion/

Evaluating Information

Have you ever heard the expression “Don’t believe everything you read?” 

You can’t believe everything you read for several reasons:

  • The information resource may have been created by a layperson, or someone who is not an expert
  • The Information resource may have been created to sell you something— be it a product, a political candidate, or an idea. The resource will say whatever it has to convince you you need that product or believe in that candidate or idea
  • The resource may simply express an opinion, and make many strong statements about that opinion, but that doesn’t make the information reliable.
  • The resource may blend known or confirmable facts with misinformation in order to convince you the lies are actually factual

One way to make sure the information you’re looking at is reliable is to figure out who created it, and where did it come from.

https://utica.libguides.com/c.php?g=1181226&p=8637478


Discover more from Stella Reddy's Story

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.