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ENGL 1120--Conspiracies & Controversies: Source Evaluation: Home

Conspiracies & Controversies

Conspiracies and controversies abound in the United States and are promoted with often disastrous consequences. No topic is too important, no issue too sensitive, no fact so well-established that it cannot be questioned. It would seem no subject is off-limits when it comes to the promulgation of "alternative theories" or "alternative facts."  

Conspiracy theorists have advanced claims about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, jet contrails, water fluoridation, and Area 51.‚Äč 
In recent years, we have witnessed the hazards various conspiracy theories pose to our democracy, whether they are put forth by people in our own political system or circulated by agents of foreign governments seeking to destabilize the foundations of our nation.
 
The goal of this guide is to provide you with a framework for critically analyzing information sources. By examining the validity of claims made in a source, one can begin to assess the credibillity, reliability, and authority of the information source itself.  We will explore some methods for critically analyzing sources.  We will begin by reviewing a case study of the Pizzagate conspiracy theory.  After that, we will apply criteria to critically evaluate a conspiracy or controversy. 

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