A few weeks ago I had a conversation with a friend about a fabulous new nonfiction book he read. I LOVE to read and I LOVE book referrals. My “To Read” list can never be too long. There was one thing that bothered me after our conversation, though. I have noticed that people are split in how they take in and use the information from sources like books, articles, and websites. Some people take the information with a grain of salt. They choose to read, then follow up with research and thoughtful reflection in order to take what makes sense and is correct while casting aside that which is not accurate. Other people read a text, then repeat the information without examining it closely and separately from the context of the book or article. I decided to make a list of questions to help me examine my thoughts after reading an article, book, or website. Information is only worthwhile if we know how to examine, research, and think through the topics at hand. It is important to discern correct from incorrect information. Yes, please read every chance you get, but also be sure to reflect on the information and examine it closely. I know I will be mindful of this as well.
- Who funded the book, website, or article? Why?
- Who authored the information? Why?
- What sources are cited in the writing?
- Do other studies, texts, or common knowledge dispute this information?
- Can some of the text be correct, with other parts being incorrect in this context?
- Do I rave about or downplay the text because my friends did the same or because I truly stand behind the information?
- Do I revere the information because an organization or movement suggests it as correct?
- Am I open to change or resistant to change?
- Can I explain this information to another person, in detail, so that it is understood correctly?