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Monday, March 4, 2019

Are You A Smart Researcher?

Here’s One Easy Way To Find Out

By Dorraine Fisher

Some of us are old enough to remember when information presented by certain sources was widely accepted as fact. People barely questioned the validity of the information and no one argued about it, least of all, publicly. Any information distributed by journalists, scientists, and other known experts was accepted by the masses because those sources were considered trustworthy. But that is no more. And we’re all left arguing and grappling with the truth. But why is this? Why can’t we know the truth? Why has the search for information become so difficult?

In the age of endless information, our sense of trust has definitely been broken by a giant wave of deception in all aspects of our reality. Too many people have been caught in too many lies. And in this Great Awakening where people are now questioning everything they’ve been told (with good reason), to all the information out there, there are now loads of counter information. And we’re messing up in our search for the truth. But why?
One good explanation for this is the widespread scourge of what is known as confirmation bias.

Confirmation bias, according to Brittanica.com is defined as this:  “The tendency to process information by looking for, or interpreting, information that is consistent with one’s existing beliefs. This biased approach to decision making is largely unintentional and often results in ignoring inconsistent information. Existing beliefs can include one’s expectations in a given situation and predictions about a particular outcome. People are especially likely to process information to support their own beliefs when the issue is highly important or self-relevant.”

What this means is that people have a tendency to accept information they receive, true or not, based around their own beliefs. First, they have a belief about something, and instead of looking for the truth surrounding it, they look for information that supports what they already believe about it. This is not research. I repeat, this IS NOT research.

In order to do good research, we have to weigh both sides of the issue. We have to be willing to listen to things we may not want to hear, as it may contradict our personal beliefs or desires,  and we have to be willing to accept the REAL truth when it offers itself. Until we do that, we can’t call ourselves researchers.

And we also have to understand that we all have a set assortment of personal perceptions and ideas that can skew the facts. One such example became apparent to me a few years ago when I was doing some research on Abraham Lincoln and his personal life. When Lincoln went to Springfield, Illinois to begin his law career, he lived in a boarding house where he boarded in a room with another man. And incidentally, they shared a bed. There was a whole conversation’s worth of comments below the article talking about how Lincoln must have been gay because he shared a bed with another man. But the truth is that beds in those days were a rare commodity and many people, whole families, and often numbers of men away from home for the first time, all slept in the same bed in order to have a place to sleep. It was common in that era. But if you don’t do your research and learn about that fact, and you have the perception that all men that sleep together in the same bed must be gay,  you’ll be left thinking something silly like Lincoln was gay... when he wasn’t. I know because I did my research. But this is a prime example of confirmation bias in someone having a preconceived idea about something and making an assumption about information (about Lincoln) based on those preconceived ideas and telling him/herself that it’s fact. This is a huge mistake that is often made.

In the world the way it is today, we have to do our own research. And In order to do good research, we have to be thorough and we can’t make irresponsible assumptions. We have to look at the evidence that’s there and let it lead us where it goes. We can’t lead it. We can’t come in with preconceived or even just plain false ideas and shape the outcome of our research around them. Because if we do that, we do a huge disservice to the true story that is trying to unfold.

It’s not really the people’s fault, but the society we live in and how we’ve been conditioned. And it’s threatening everything we claim to hold dear.  No one seems to care about the truth anymore, only their biased interpretations of it. Especially if the truth that comes to light isn’t what they want to see. Some people seem to honestly not be able to handle the reality. They only seek to make themselves happy, so they embrace a “truth” that makes them happy, whether it’s really the truth or not. But that’s a dangerous way to think and it needs to change.

So, are you a smart researcher? Can you weigh all the angles and be uncomfortable and, if necessary, acknowledge a truth you may not like?  It’s hard to admit that it’s not an easy thing to do. But it may be one of the most important things we ever learn. The state of the world actually depends on it. After all, how can we fix or change or adjust things if we can’t even admit to them? Yeah! I don’t know either.

This Post By TCC Team Member Dorraine Fisher. Dorraine is a Professional Writer, photographer, a nature, wildlife and Bigfoot enthusiast who has written for many magazines. Dorraine conducts research, special interviews and more for The Crypto Crew. Get Dorraine's book The Bigfoot Research Journal

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