People Often Base Their Actions or Opinions Term Paper

Pages: 6 (2145 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Communication - Journalism

People often base their actions or opinions upon false information; the UFO phenomenon is a fairly good example of this. Many people believe that UFO's are alien spacecrafts based upon a wide array of information. There are, of course, substantiated reports by officials and airline pilots of objects in the sky, but these accounts are often combined with more questionable accounts of alien abductions and encounters to produce false beliefs. The result is that many individuals automatically attribute anything in the sky lacking clear explanations to extraterrestrials. This is clearly illogical, and it would require more balanced explanations of what various UFO encounters could be, and the realization that a handful of first-hand accounts do not amount to scientific verification.

A good research topic is, fundamentally, something that can be verified through analytical methods, and something that is pertinent to the subject at hand. So, the topic should be something that can either be substantiated by existing scientific studies, or something that can easily be adapted into a scientific study. In other words, there needs to be a testable quality to a research topic. So, if it is testable, then it must be aimed in some direction that will ultimately lead to a conclusion. Consequently, a research topic should be chosen by investigating the current literature on a subject, analyzing its testability, and focusing it in a direction that will lead to a final determination.

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3. All potential sources possess biases. Even those that attempt to be objective often reveal a hidden or unintentional bias. Even scientific studies, simply by choosing what to research and what to not, are introduced with a form of bias. Determining these biases can be as simple as reading the article critically or as complex as looking into the past of the author or any given work. Regardless of how difficult it may be to suggest what the bias of an article, book or study might be, it is important for challenging the conclusions of the work. Naturally, most useful sources will have their conclusions stand-up to scrutiny, even after the bias is determined.

Term Paper on People Often Base Their Actions or Opinions Assignment

4. It is sometimes difficult to determine when one source is more trustworthy than another. A lot of the evaluation must be based upon the specific publication within which the work is found. Peer reviewed scientific publications are among the most trustworthy sources of information. In the media, many of the largest and most reputable publications base their popularity upon accuracy and impartiality -- such as the New York Times or the BBC. The individual article or publication itself can be evaluated by specifically searching for statements possessing opinions, and by investigating the quality of the sources used in the publication.

5. Controversial television advertising is a topic that deals intimately with issues of censorship and the impact of the media upon the audience. Lack of censorship may be seen as analogous to handing a child a loaded gun and telling them to operate it responsibly; knowledge and information are sometimes wielded in a similar manner. Problems with this way of thinking arise when decisions about specifically what information is potentially harmful, and who should determine what remains seen and unseen are established. Clearly, the responsibility for judgments regarding censorship would be most reasonably placed with the parents and guardians of those being protected; however, within modern society this is often not possible. Accordingly, frequently arbitrary decisions are made concerning censored material by the government and the media in the interest of appeasing the largest portions of society. The difficulty with government controlled censorship is that it cannot impede upon our First Amendment rights; the problem with media controlled censorship is that market forces tend to demand that limitations constantly be pressed. Additionally, censorship in the media and government can result in misleading information being fed to the public: "Freedom of information in American society is in serious danger. Corporate media is trying to maintain access to most official sources of news." Abuses of authority and power are made possible by official controls of information.

Studies have indicated that the influence of advertisement upon individuals may be significant. Most scientific studies indicate that the link between exposure to controversial advertisements and behavior is moderate; although news coverage of the link has perhaps provided an undue amount of weight on the side of media advocates: "Reasons for this discontinuity between news reports and the actual state of scientific knowledge include the vested interests of the news, a misapplied fairness doctrine in news reporting, and the failure of the research community to effectively argue the scientific case." Within the scientific community, while it is not altogether apparent what amount of influence the external world, in general, has upon human behavior, it is much more possible to determine the influence of specific factors -- such as violence in television advertising. This is ultimately because individual variables can be isolated and measured against the absence of these variables; meanwhile, it is virtually impossible to isolate all external variables in order to arrive at a comprehensive conclusion regarding innate characteristics and human environment: "Certain characteristics of viewers (e.g. identification with aggressive characters), social environments (e.g. parental influences), and media contact (e.g. attractiveness of the perpetrator) can influence the degree to which media violence affects aggression, but there are some inconsistencies in research results."

6. After the initial round of research, it seems that the general consensus is that television advertising campaigns that are deemed controversial are those that challenge existing standards of censorship. Although these standards may be determined in a somewhat arbitrary fashion, evidence also indicates that people, particularly children, have their behavior influence in a relatively substantial manner.

7. The most significant problem in conducting this research has been the relatively small amount of literature dealing specifically with controversial ads. Although there are undoubtedly a number of scientific studies dealing with this issue, the most conclusive studies have been conducted regarding the influence of the media in general, with advertisements as a particular subset of this discussion.

8. Controversial television advertisements tend to challenge traditional values and push the boundaries of current censorship standards; it is widely believed that these ads can influence the behavior of the audience in sometimes undesirable manners. Television advertisements are often deemed controversial when they defy the conventions of censorship because it is believed that they can influence people's actions negatively. These are statements of opinion that need to be substantiated with scientifically gathered data.

9. I have taken a position in favor of the legalization of same-sex marriages because marriage, as it is defined under the law must be explicitly devoid of religious beliefs. Of course, individual churches and faiths can choose to forbid it under their beliefs, but the law is defined as a mechanism that must operate independently of such beliefs.

10. The United States is one of only a handful of developed nations that still readily imposes death upon those found guilty of a crime. Killing as a function of the state raises a number of moral questions, and makes a number of moral assumptions. Aside from the question as to whether the state is justified in killing at all, is the concern of equal justice for individuals convicted of capital murder. In other words, there is the possibility that certain subsets of the American population are sentenced to death more readily for the same crimes. If sentencing of the death penalty is unfair or biased, it questions the legitimacy of death as a form of justice. Society in the United States is very aware that racism has existed and will continue to exist within the criminal justice system. Consequently, certain portions of the population tend to be marginalized and criminalized based upon their ethnic origins. These problems are only amplified and made more acute by the continued practice of death as a form of punishment.

By adopting the death penalty, in many ways, the United States' public is identifying the justice system as an infallible device -- a mechanism that is not capable of errors, imperfections, or inequity. However, the human component of the legal system demands that mistakes are sometimes made, and that bias does exist; these aspects of the system can never be fully eliminated, just as they can never be fully eliminated from the human psyche. Bias will always exist in some form. Today, prejudice based upon race is central to the manner in which many Americans think and behave, and accordingly, it is prevalent in the criminal justice system. This fact cannot be refuted on any justifiable grounds. Largely, Americans are aware that race plays a role in the justice system; a noticeable role, if not the defining role.

11. Critical thinking and reading requires investigating both sides of every issue and challenging the credibility of each source investigated. Accordingly, critical writing requires the writer to put their own writing under the same amount of scrutiny.

12. I watched the local news and the credibility of the stories covered was… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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