Facts and Opinions

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Video Transcript:

Understanding the difference between a fact and an opinion isn’t difficult. What matters is being able to apply that knowledge responsibly.

When someone presents information in the form of a fact, like “the blue whale is the largest animal on earth.” They are stating something that can be proven with evidence.

That’s different from an opinion, like “blue whales are the most beautiful whales.” Here, they are sharing a personal belief that can’t be proven.

Think about it this way: The factual statement here is about size, which can be measured and agreed upon. The opinion is about beauty, which cannot be measured and is up to the individual.

Being able to tell the difference can help you be more influential and trustworthy. Here’s what I mean…

Imagine you’re a student who must complete a paper about the science of whales. In researching the subject, you find a mix of facts and opinions.

For example, in a magazine article, a scientist says, “Whale research needs more funding.” and it seems relevant.

But then, you notice that it’s based on a personal belief, which means it’s an opinion.

Then, on a trustworthy website, you find the statement: “Funding for blue whale research increased by 10% last year.” This is a statement of fact that can give your paper more integrity.

It’s important to remember that a statement of fact can still be true or false. The person who made the statement may be confused or misleading. That’s why it’s a good idea to verify facts using multiple credible sources.

In another example, you’re watching a TV show with two guests who disagree. During the debate they make a number of statements that seem credible.

One of the guests mainly shares opinions, like “I think Joe is the best player.” The other guest chooses to share factual statements like, “Mike is currently ranked number one in the world.”

By thinking through the difference between fact and opinion, you can see which guest may be presenting a stronger argument.

Or, imagine a journalist who is working on a big news story. She interviews a number of people and over time, documents both facts and opinions from her sources.

While her article might contain quotes that relate opinions, the accuracy and integrity of her article depends on documenting the facts of the situation.

To be sure, she researches the factual statements to make sure they are true.

As you can see, knowing the difference between facts and opinions is only part of the challenge.

The real task is analyzing communication and understanding what represents information that can be trusted and why.



What it teaches:

Every day, we see both facts and opinions in media, education and more. Being able to tell them apart is an important and powerful skill. Using multiple examples, this video explains the difference between facts and opinions and how to use that information to your advantage. It teaches:

  • How to recognize factual statements
  • How to recognize statements of opinion
  • Why factual statements can be true or false
  • How to verify the accuracy of factual statements
  • Why understanding facts and opinions matter in evaluating media

Video Info:

  • Duration:  03m 01s
  • Captions Available:  YES
  • Lesson Plan:  YES
  • Category:  Study Skills
  • ISTE Standard:  Knowledge Constructor, Indicator 3B
  • ACRL Info Literacy Frame: Authority Is Constructed and Contextual

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