Skip to main content

SSCI 299: SocialScienceSYE

How to think like a Social Scientist: Information is constructed.

When the information is changing.

Question: How do you construct credible information when your sources are changing?

Recently there has been a lot of discussion about changes to government websites. Of course, change is normal with a new administration and should be expected. Priorities may be different, new initiatives are undertaken, previous strategies abandoned etc. When does this become a problem? If we feel that critical information has altered or has disappeared how can we construct or reconstruct that information?

To begin, read the articles on the EPA website and Government Twitter accounts, linked below. Discuss the issues with your group. Then explore further. You can use some of the links provided on this page or follow up on something else that sparks your interest. Each member of your group should be prepared to discuss some aspect of this issue. Use the questions below to guide your research and discussion.

Consider these questions for your group presentation.

  • How do we know if information has been changed or has been removed from websites? Does this add to or detract from the credibility of the source?
  • If we are no longer certain of the information being provided by a previously credible source, where can we get our information?
  • What tactics do you see being used to circumvent the government's policies on information about climate change, the environment and other issues?
  • How can you determine authority when reviewing alternate sources?

For your group presentation be prepared to share:

  • Your specific question or problem.
  • A bit of background so that we understand the topic.
  • The major issues you discovered in trying to deconstruct the information.
  • Which sources were helpful in exploring the problem.
  • Any roadblocks or problems you encountered.
  • What information did you find beyond the links provided?
  • How did that inform your understanding?
  • What you decided as a group, or individually if you didn't agree.