C. Munzenmaier Hamilton College Urbandale, IA

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What Is an Informed Opinion?

Who would you trust?

• an ad claiming that cheap shampoos work as well as expensive brands

• a CBS news story

• the "Cosmetics Cop"

An informed opinion is based on knowledge of the facts and carefully considered principles. It relies on evidence instead of limited personal experience.

When you choose sources for your papers, you will generally want an informed opinion from a professional source.

If a reporter summarizes a study or quotes an expert, try to find the original source. Generally the original source is considered the most reliable: it's the most complete and you can judge the evidence for yourself.

Not a professional article

This newspaper report is based on a study about how television affects children.

"Too Much Tube Time Can Turn Kids into Bullies"

It can be a good starting point, if you use the article to point you to other sources—such as the original study.

Professional article

To find the original study by Frederick J. Zimmerman


To find other sources on this topic, follow links and check out the references at the end.

EBSCO is a good place to start. Also check out Google Scholar and Find Articles.

If that doesn't work, don't give up. Ask a librarian if the article is available through interlibrary loan.

Internet Resources














   Copyright in these materials belongs to C. Munzenmaier © 2007.
Teachers are free to reproduce or modify them for nonprofit educational use. 

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