October 27, 2021
Right, Wrong, Good, Bad – those are the words we use to describe our decision-making choices. What makes a decision right or wrong? What makes a decision good or bad? Yeah, I know, it’s like porn. You can’t describe it, but you’ll know it when you see it.
A decision that is right for you may be wrong for me. A decision that is good for me may be bad for you. Hang on, here we go… Your perceptions and life experiences are your guides. Your gut feelings are tied in to past experiences and results. Sure, we all like to think that our decisions are made with great care and a lot of thought. Wait, I need to throw my bullshit flag.
Hear me out before you take your toys and go home. All of us have unknown biases. All of us have tunnel vision on certain issues. All of us hate the idea of even making a “wrong” decision. It is one thing to make a wrong decision for ourselves, but let that decision affect other people that we love and that piles on the stress, pressure and worry. I never want to hurt the ones that I love. I always want to make the best decisions possible. I especially want to make the right decision when it affects those that I love.
How can we make the best decision possible when we don’t recognize our biases? How can we make a good decision when we really don’t know what good resources are? To me a good resource is a trusted resource. A trusted resource often educates. A trusted resource is NOT an advertisement. Use the CRAAP test. See the bottom of the article for a worksheet.
Facts are Facts. You don’t have to like it. Truth on the other hand takes in to consideration you own views, beliefs and ideas about a subject and sometimes you throw facts in the mix. Unknow biases. Question why you believe what you believe. Be skeptical. Can you accept what you have thought or believed most of your life could be wrong? How did that last word “wrong” make you feel? We do not want to be “wrong” ever! Change the word “wrong” to incorrect and see how that makes you feel. Can you accept that your friends and families’ beliefs and opinions may be incorrect? I am able to accept that I am incorrect. I am not inclined to believe that I am wrong. I get defensive if I am “wrong.” I can’t stand to be wrong! That is why I will do my research from trusted sources. I may not like what I have learned, but at least I know the facts and I can then figure out what will work best for me and my loved ones. Find three trusted resources and read the information using the CRAAP test information.
Be open to learning something new. Be curious. Let yourself ponder and think. We try to control the outcomes with our decision-making. Have you heard the phrase, “trust the process?” Why do people tell us that? Because we cannot control the outcome. We can only do our best. Sometimes, it is making a decision with the information that we have, right now. We may need to change our decision or update as we learn new information. That is okay. When we know better, we do better.
What happens we are faced with NO good choices? What do we do? How can we decide?
We make the decision that we will regret the least.
Get rid of the “should.” Every time that you say or even think the word “should.” Stop and change that word to “Want.” What do I want? How do I want things to go? What do I really want down the road? Take time to think. Think through your options. Brainstorm and don’t dismiss anything, right now. You can pare down later. Are there compromises or alternatives?
- What are your values, wants and needs?
- Talk it through with a good listener. Tell them you are talking and you just want them to listen.
- Maybe you need someone else’s perspective (maybe someone who has been in a similar situation).
- Test out the decision in your mind. Go all the way through. Remember, you cannot control the outcome. How will this affect me in the short=term, in the long-run?
- Doing something always beats doing nothing.
- Listen to your gut. Your intuition is important.
- There is not right or wrong decision, only what is best for you and your family.
- When all of the choices suck, which one will you regret the least?
Choice overload will cause you to not make a choice. Paralysis by analysis is a real thing. Too much information will keep you on the indecision wheel. Find 3 choices by doing your research with trusted resources. Realize that decision fatigue happens to all of us. Making tough decisions takes a lot of time and a whole lot of energy. You will second guess yourself. Go with what you know and not how you feel once you have made your decision. Accept that there will probably be trade-offs. Know what your values are. What is important to you.
Very few decisions can’t be changed or updated. Try to find a “both/ and” decision rather than an “either/or” decision.
Sometimes you will have to make a decision that you will regret the least. Be kind to yourself.
The CRAAP Test Worksheet
Use the following list to help you evaluate sources. Answer the questions as appropriate, and then rank each of the 5 parts from 1 to 10 (1 = unreliable, 10 = excellent). Add up the scores to give you an idea of whether you should you use the resource (and whether your teacher would want you to!).
Currency: the timeliness of the information………………………………………………………………………..
• When was the information published or posted?
• Has the information been revised or updated?
• Is the information current or out-of date for your topic?
• Are the links functional?
Relevance: the importance of the information for your needs…………………………………………….
• Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
• Who is the intended audience?
• Is the information at an appropriate level?
• Have you looked at a variety of sources before choosing this one?
• Would you be comfortable using this source for a research paper?
Authority: the source of the information……………………………………………………………………………
• Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
• Are the author’s credentials or organizational affiliations given?
• What are the author’s credentials or organizational affiliations given?
• What are the author’s qualifications to write on the topic?
• Is there contact information, such as a publisher or e-mail address?
• Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?
Accuracy: the reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content…………………………………………
• Where does the information come from?
• Is the information supported by evidence?
• Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
• Can you verify any of the information in another source?
• Does the language or tone seem biased and free of emotion?
• Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?
Purpose: the reason the information exists……………………………………………………………
• What is the purpose of the information?
• Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
• Is the information fact? opinion? propaganda?
• Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
• Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?
45 – 50 Excellent | 40 – 44 Good
35 – 39 Average | 30 – 34 Borderline Acceptable
Below 30 – Unacceptable
Created by Juniata College