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This content is taken from the Coventry University's online course, Decision-making and Risk: An Introduction. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 12 seconds In this video I will talk about the quality of data and how we can assess whether or not data is from a credible source. One of the key characteristics of the current world in which we live so much of our lives online is that essentially every time we interact online, be that to buy something to engage with social media or to surf the internet, we are generating data and that data is being collected sometimes without us realising that it’s being collected and that means that all sorts of organisations know an awful lot about us and on the one hand that is a good thing because it means that for example when I surf my favourite online shopping portal it tells me exactly what it thinks that I’m going to want to buy and frequently it’s right.

Skip to 1 minute and 19 seconds When I listen to my favourite music streaming service it tells me what kind of music I am likely to want to listen to and frequently it’s right. The problem comes when there is so much data and we don’t know where it is, who’s using it or how they’re using it and then related to that the advent and spread of digital technologies means that it’s now possible to automate an awful lot of information and information sharing in a way that is very very credible. So that has led to the spread of what is popularly known as fake news and fake news has become a very commonly used accusation in political campaigns and also in the media more generally.

Skip to 2 minutes and 20 seconds Related to the spread of fake news is the fact that those who are spreading fake news are able to use the data that they’re able to collect about us in order to target very specifically the sort of information that we’re seeing. So I think there are a number of possible solutions to this. The main one is that I think people need to be even more critical than ever about assessing the information that they’re, that they’re seeing and making a judgement about its credibility.

Skip to 3 minutes and 0 seconds So that means that people need to think very very carefully about where information that they see is coming from, whether the sources is reliable, whether the same information is available elsewhere, so how verifiable it is and also what the agenda or agendas might be of those who are sharing this information. I hope that during this module you’re going to get a sense of how data can be used to take effective decisions and also that you will be exposed to some tools that can help you to assess the credibility of the data that you’re exposed to.

Skip to 3 minutes and 47 seconds I also hope that as a result of watching this video you will be particularly vigilant from now on about the fact that so much data is being collected about you and is being used in all sorts of ways. So in this video we have looked at data, how data is collected and some of the issues of making sure that the data we use is reliable. I hope you’ve enjoyed this video.

Quality and credibility of data

Regular allegations of ‘fake news’ by politicians and the media have highlighted that data and its analysis can be contentious, and is certainly subjective.

This video highlights the issues around the nature of data and information. What is the quality of your data and source? How credible is your source?

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This video is from the free online course:

Decision-making and Risk: An Introduction

Coventry University