Facts and Arguments Checking: Investigating the Occurrence of Scientific Argument on Twitter

Information Research (CoLIS 11), 2022

17 Pages Posted: 8 Jul 2022

Date Written: 2022

Abstract

Introduction: A method for studying use of scientific sources in arguments on Twitter is demonstrated.

Method: Data were collected from the Twitter API v. 2.0 using Focalevents, searching for tweets with links to DOIs, and then collecting conversations around these tweets.

Analysis: Three conversations on different topics were analysed searching for argumentative behaviour, use of scientific sources, their reliability, consistency and adequacy in relation to the argument and the target audience. Both quantitative and qualitative content analysis based on argumentation theory were applied.

Results: The method allowed us to identify scientific publications used argumentatively by a multiple audience in the context of Twitter conversations. The publications were used to build scientific arguments, mainly, but not exclusively, from individual and collegial expert opinion. Scientific findings were often misinterpreted and used improperly to the benefit of the argument.

Conclusion: Through the use of argumentation theory to study conversations in a structured way, the paper demonstrates how to approach the usage of scientific publications in arguments. Scientific publications were used to build scientific arguments from different types of expert opinion, for giving proofs for claims and counter-arguments, and inconsistent or biased arguments from individual expert opinion.

Keywords: Linking practices, Twitter conversations, scientific argument, argumentation practices, argumentative behaviours, information behaviours, health-related information

JEL Classification: I00, O44

Suggested Citation

Foderaro, Antonella and Gunnarsson Lorentzen, David, Facts and Arguments Checking: Investigating the Occurrence of Scientific Argument on Twitter (2022). Information Research (CoLIS 11), 2022, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4141496 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4141496

Antonella Foderaro

Independent ( email )

David Gunnarsson Lorentzen (Contact Author)

University of Borås ( email )

Allegatan 1
Borås, 501 90
Sweden

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