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4 Simple Online Research Strategies – Latest Hacking News | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker


Whenever there’s a new war, global crisis, or controversy going on in the world, verifiable information becomes the scarcest of resources. You have much misinformation, personal opinions, and malicious interpretations of available facts. How do you learn the truth?

The key lies in research, but how do you get to the bottom? How do you learn who you can trust? How do you find that single drop of truth in the sea of lies? Well, today, we’ll share some strategies you can use to do better online research.

1.   Read more than just headlines

Eight out of ten people read just the headline. So, if you read the entirety of the article, you’re already more informed than 80% of the population. Here are a few reasons why it’s so important that you read more than just headlines:

  • Depth of understanding: Headlines are the key points of each segment, but not everyone focuses on the same points in the article. You need to read more than just headlines to better understand the subject matter.
  • Credibility and accuracy: Most of the time, you don’t even have to go to the primary source to check the article’s validity. Sometimes, for legal reasons, the author of an article will be honest in their recount of the events; they might just go for a clickbait title to get an audience or achieve a shock effect.
  • More effective learning: regardless of whether you want to talk about the content of this article with your friends later, write another article citing this as a source or anything else; if you read it, you’ll get better at it.

Overall, taking a few minutes per article won’t dent your schedule, no matter how busy you are.

2.   Listen to the other side

Approach research as if it were a conflict mediation. Listen to all parties, and then take a few minutes to see what you’ve got.

  • Read both sides: Regardless of where you live, almost everyone knows which TV station or newspaper is biased toward which party. So, when choosing who you’re listening to, you’re virtually picking your own poison. Still, instead of dismissing everything as propaganda, why not read both sides? Even propaganda pieces can be honest when representing the wrongdoings of the other side; they’re not always just whitewashing their own party.
  • Think about the agenda: When there’s crypto news, is this news coming from someone who has posted 3,000 crypto-skeptic comments on Reddit or actively pushing crypto that they have a stake in? A simple portfolio check will help you determine if the person giving out the “advice” has any bias for or against what they’re pushing.
  • Use a VPN: In international disputes, local news is clearly biased towards their own party. Instead, if you use a VPN, you have a chance to listen to the other side as well. Tools like those featured on a list of the best VPNs often offer great regional support, allowing you to access content from almost anywhere in the world that might have previously been geo-restricted. Today, finding an automated translation tool is not that hard either.

Remember that you can easily navigate this landscape if you’re aware of the biases in advance. Like in boxing, you need to see the punches coming to evade them.

3.   Check sources

One of the first things you want to know is where the information is coming from. This means that you need to learn how to review sources.

  • Check the source: Generally speaking, you want always to use trusted sources; however, you need to understand that they won’t always be available. More importantly, you won’t always recognize a credible source. Just because you haven’t heard of the journal, it doesn’t mean that it’s not big or trustworthy; it just means that you haven’t heard of it. A quick check should clear this out.
  • Be careful with Wikis: Wikipedia and similar sources may sound untrustworthy, but this is not much more than an urban legend. A lot of these Wikis have a rigorous and dedicated moderation team. Sure, you’re not allowed to use Wikipedia as a source when doing academic work, but you can always go to the sources used in a Wikipedia entry and use some of their information.
  • Follow the link: Just because someone references that something is stated in the source, it doesn’t have to be that way. For instance, when I tell you that, in this article, there’s a part about the latest iOS update fixing the iPhone 15 overheating issues, you can take my word for it or just click the link and find the subheading in a matter of seconds. You can take a few seconds more to read the subheading and see what it’s all about. It’s never much time.

In the end, verifying the source and its information doesn’t take more than a few minutes, and it’s definitely worth it.

4.   Be careful when playing devil’s advocate

Playing devil’s advocate is an incredible way to think critically and get some great arguments. It’s also a great way to get sidetracked. Here are some caveats when playing devil’s advocate in order to find the truth.

  • Don’t assume innocence or competence: You sometimes have to assume that the other party is acting in good faith. This won’t always be the case; assuming this will lead you astray. There’s nothing wrong with assuming that the other person has their reasons, but believing these reasons should be fair by default can lead you to bad outcomes. Also, don’t assume everyone is playing some 6D chess game or making 200IQ moves.
  • Don’t become a contrarian: Successfully defending an indefensible position feels great. It makes you feel passionate and competent, even intellectually superior. The problem lies in getting addicted to that feeling of being so good at coming up with great contra arguments that you manage to convince yourself. Taking a stance or believing something just because it’s opposite to what everyone else believes (so you get the satisfaction of feeling like the only one who got it right) is a horrible practice.
  • Don’t forget the original arguments: Playing devil’s advocate is a term that bears this name for a reason. There’s a reason why the majority of people believe the opposite statement. It doesn’t make the opposite statement true; it just means that the reason is good and that the data on their side (usually) seems compelling.

Again, this is a great way to start thinking critically, but it’s also a slippery slope if you don’t know what you’re doing.

You can’t do research without investing time and effort

The bottom line is that you can’t avoid investing time and effort into research if you want to do it right. If you just want to find something that will confirm what you already believe, this shouldn’t be that hard. Just go to your epistemic bubble or echo chamber and get your source of biased takes on recent news from your preferred source. Still, this is a practice that, although it may make you feel good about yourself, will hurt you intellectually (and reputation-wise) in the long run. The choice is yours!.

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