Analysis Frameworks

How do experts understand information?

When it comes to analysis, engaging in a productive conversation can be helped by understanding the information better. But sometimes information can be complicated.

How do experts understand information? It can depend on what background or disciplines they are coming from. Here are four different “lenses,” or interpretation frameworks, that our team is exploring to include:


Vaccine News Quality
How high quality is this information?

Journalists, Health and Science Communicators

What are ways that journalists and other communicators understand higher quality information? Over the past century, practices have emerged that can help us know when a report or article might uphold certain values of journalism, such as accuracy, impartiality, verifiability and transparency.

For two years, the News Quality Initiative has worked with journalists and health communicators to better understand what elements make for a better news article generally, for science/health journalism, and for vaccine-related news. We’ve arranged these markers into three categories of quality:

  • general journalism quality, for news of any topic or genre;
  • science/health journalism quality, for news on scientific issues or public issues involving science, and; 
  • vaccine journalism quality, for news that discusses vaccines.


Online Misinformation Harms
How urgent is it to respond?

Fact Checkers, Content Moderators

Fact checking and content moderation teams have long acknowledged the challenges posed by harmful communication within social media and other spaces on the internet. 

Understanding that misinformation can be harmful, project members and partners tied to the UW Social Futures Lab have developed a framework to aid in characterizing magnitudes of misinformation harm to understand how urgent certain types of content may be to address. This framework draws from existing research in the related fields of cyber-harms and hate speech. The framework includes:  

  • The likelihood of the content’s spread and exposure;
  • The potential of action resulting from the content;
  • The exploitativeness of the content’s intended audience;
  • The believability of the content’s information; and
  • The communal embeddedness of the content’s narrative.


Psychological Manipulation Tactics
Are there persuasive or misleading tactics being used?

Psychologists

What makes a piece of content particularly persuasive or convincing? Generally, it is because of how the information is being presented. Psychologists have identified a number of manipulative techniques designed to persuade an audience to feel or think a certain way. These techniques are effective because they take advantage of the way humans naturally perceive or react to information, and can be all the more worrisome if the information is misleading or false.

Recognizing and exposing the presence of these manipulative tactics can be a valuable tool, which include: 

  • Tapping into our natural bias to find connections by using conspiratorial reasoning;
  • Deliberately encouraging a response using “bait” by trolling;
  • Evoking emotion and encouraging to think with feelings instead of reason;
  • Creating or expanding the gap between two groups by being polarizing;
  • Discrediting the opponent instead of addressing the argument;
  • Gaining access to a trusted community by impersonation; and
  • Manufacturing doubt by distorting the scientific consensus.


Community Trust Issues
What trust issues are brought up?

Philosophers, Social Scientists

Trust is an integral aspect of human behavior. It allows us to navigate conditions of uncertainty, vulnerability and risk in our daily lives with a sense of confidence and security. This concept becomes especially relevant when it comes to the way we gather and process information. 

Though we understand its importance, trust is not easily understood.  When it comes to the topic of vaccines, levels of trust may be understandably rooted in fear and uncertainty, a distrust of institutions, or within the complicated nature of vaccine development. One plausible pathway to building trust in the area of vaccines is to share trusted forms of information:

  • credible sources of health information
  • that are scientifically competent and
  • come from communities that are connected to the people within a conversation.

To address this, we have built a prototype database that contains high-quality question and answer resources developed by many community leaders that are in alignment with authoritative guidance on vaccines.