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Agriculture (general)

General agricultural resources for Penn State faculty, staff and students

The Personal Steps: IF I

Identify emotions attached to the topic.

Find unbiased reference sources that will provide a proper and informative overview of the topic.


Intellectual courage is needed to seek authoritative voices on the topic that may fall outside your comfort zone or thesis. 

Identifying emotions

We often seek information that confirms our own thoughts and feelings towards a topic.

This is Confirmation Bias

This is not research!

Confirmation Bias, also called confirmatory bias or myside bias, is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one's preexisting beliefs or hypotheses.  It is a type of cognitive bias and a systematic error of inductive reasoning. People display this bias when they gather or remember information selectively, or when they interpret it in a biased way. The effect is stronger for emotionally charged issues and for deeply entrenched beliefs.


Think of the phrase "Climate Change".  What does that mean to you?

What terms would you ADD to a search on climate to narrow down your retrieval?  What are some counter opinions or terms to the ones you chose?

Add those terms into the padlet below! (click the PLUS icon and start typing! Then click "publish".)

Made with Padlet

Finding unbiased resources

Conduct a general knowledge overview.

DO NOT search for your specific location YET. You want to start with information about the issue in general.

Try the terms you have identified for your topic in the resources below.

Intellectual Courage

Intellectual courage:

  • Identify credible materials for all of the viewpoints - yours and the additional you identified

  • Reject unsound arguments - have the courage to accept that not all viewpoints are valid