Detecting and Debunking Information Junk

Deceptive information saturates the modern world: false advertising floods the internet, misleading (or simply fake) news headlines corrupt our newsfeeds, and productions value inspiration over truth. Deceptive information can be found even in scientific publications that are generally regarded as trustworthy. We make decisions based on the information that we ingest, but what if all that information was false?

“Commercial culture,” Carl Sagan cautions in Demon Haunted World (1996), “is full of ... misdirections and evasions at the expense of the consumer. You’re not supposed to ask. Don’t think. Buy.” As consumers, we need to ask. We need to think. What do we trust? And how do we know? It is our duty as world citizens to detect and dissect deceptive information and to make responsible decisions based on the truth (or as close as we can get to it). Gullibility is vulnerability.

This workshop is about cleansing your information diet. You will walk away from this workshop with the ability to detect and dissect deceptive information in data visualizations, statistical claims, causal claims, the news, and academic publishing.

This course is available at the following time(s) and location(s):

Campus Session(s) Instructor(s) Cost Seats available  
Vancouver 1 Candice McGowan $166.95 29 Register


Candice McGowan

Candice McGowan is an analytics instructor by training. She holds a BA in cognitive systems from the University of British Columbia and has three years of experience in vision science research.

In 2013, she joined the Vancouver Institute for Visual Analytics and developed material for in-person and online courses, taught visual analytics to academics and industry professionals, and established a visual analytics training pipeline that helps university students land jobs in analytics and data science.

Candice founded the Thinking Tool Kit series of data-literacy workshops and guides in 2017. She now teaches not only visual analytics but also critical thinking to a wider audience, allowing more people in society to have agency as information consumers and responsibility as information designers.


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