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ENVR 100: Koontz

Things to Consider

Your first step is going to be to find an image that you are going to base your project on. You are going to attempt to either support or refute the claim made in the image using reputable scientific literature. 

What are you looking for in an image? 

  • An image that is making a claim that they are stating as truth (whether or not it is actually true). May not be stated outright - you may have to analyze the image to figure out what their main argument was. 
    i.e. Image 1 (below) that is implying that global warming doesn't exist because it is snowing outside. 
  • A claim that you have a reasonable ability to actually prove/disprove using scientific literature. i.e. claims like "Scientists are trying to trick us!" are probably hard to refute as there may not be much scientific literature arguing 'No, we aren't trying to trick you.' The claim also doesn't name anyone or anything in particular that you could do research on, just 'scientists.' 


Image 1: Implies that global warming is false                                  Image 2: Implies global warming is suspicious but does not

due to existence of winter weather, a claim that can                       provide a reason why they believe it is false. Hard to form an 

be argued for/against using scientific literature.                              argument for/against this when you don't know their justification.



Where can you look for images? 

You can find these images on many social media platforms.

  • Facebook - may be the best place to find images that are making a claim one way or another. Use the search bar to search for a term that you have a reasonable idea may have claims being made about it online. Once you have searched, you can use the filters in the left-hand column to limit your results to photos. This will help you find images that other people have shared. 
  • Twitter - could be another source of images, though most of what you will find is text. 
  • Google Images - will help you find a images from a much wider array of sources. This can be a good and a bad thing, as the image sources may be more questionable. 


Terms that may generate images/memes: 

  • Global Warming or Climate Change
  • Fracking
  • Solar Energy or any other form of alternative energy
  • Evolution
  • Extinction
  • Flat Earth
  • Flint, Michigan's water
  • Plastic straw bans
  • Oil Pipeline
  • COVID-19
  • Currently, a lot of people are posting about the energy grids in Texas and winter weather in the southern United States. 

Once you have found an image that you think will work for your project, your first goal will be to analyze the image itself. This is what we would consider researching vertically (up and down within the same resource). 

You are going to want to identify a number of things related to your image: 

  1. Where is the image from? Who is making the claim? 
    There are a few ways to do this. Start by looking at the immediate publisher of the image. 
    Is it a private person? Or is it an organization/corporation? 
    Can you reverse-image search the photo to see where it may have originated from? 
    What other sources/ sites are using the same image? 
  2. Is the image coming from a credible source? Or is it coming from a source with an known bias or agenda? 
    This can go a long way towards informing you as to whether or not the claim being made is correct/accurate. 
    Pay special attention to resources that are coming from sources that are not scientific in nature. 
    Pay attention to fact-checkers in some social media pages. Do not automatically assume that they are false, but take that as the warning it is meant to be. It is up to you to do the research to prove/disprove the claim.
  3. What claim is being made by the image? What support have they given for the claim? 
    You will need to boil down the image's argument into a succinct claim that you can either prove/refute. 
    i.e. Image 1 is making the claim that global warming is false because the weather in winter is cold, not warm. It is implying that if global warming was real we would not have cold temperatures or snowfall. 

Example Photos: 

  1. Photo A
  2. Photo B
  3. Photo C

Once you have analyzed your image to determine WHO is making the original argument, WHAT the argument is, and what level of credibility there is in that argument's source - it's time to begin searching laterally. Searching laterally means that you are going to a variety of other sources to investigate the claims made by the original. 

There are a couple of ways you can begin to read perspectives on the argument being made:

Seek out websites that give you multiple perspectives on a topic. These can help you to 1) understand more about the original argument being made; and 2) find out what arguments are being presented in opposition to that original argument. 

  1. Opposing Viewpoints in Context -
    Opposing Viewpoints provides sources that argue differing viewpoints on a wide array of topics - coming from sources that include academic journals, opinion pieces, newspaper articles, etc. This is a good place to go to find out how different people are thinking about your topic. 
  2. -
    Procon is a site that endeavors to give you the strongest arguments for/against an issue. It is not necessarily stating that one side or the other is true or correct - that is for you to decide once you have examined the arguments, the sources of information, etc. In other words - just because an argument is posted here doesn't mean it is correct. 

Sample Sources: 

  • Source A (from Opposing Viewpoints)
    Who is the author? Is the author credible?