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Information Literacy

Fact or Opinion? Americans have trouble telling the difference

by Margaret Schoen on 2018-06-18T12:11:00-04:00 | Comments

A new report from the Pew Research Center found that only a quarter of American adults could correctly identify facts - as opposed to opinions - in news-related statements.

The study asked participants to read a series of statements and asked to distinguish which ones were factual and which were opinions. Examples of factual statements were sentences like "spending on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid make up the largest portion of the U.S. federal budget," while opinion statements included sentences such as "democracy is the greatest form of government."

Participants found it slightly easier to pick out opinion - about 35 percent correctly identified all five, while only 26 percent could correctly identify the factual statements. Roughly a quarter got most or all wrong in both categories.

According to the study "those with high political awareness, those who are very digitally savvy and those who place high levels of trust in the news media are better able than others to accurately identify news-related statements as factual or opinion."


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