Kies de Nederlandse taal
Course module: 880003-M-6
Data and (mis)information
Course info
Course module880003-M-6
Credits (ECTS)6
CategoryMA (Master)
Course typeCourse
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byTilburg University; Tilburg School of Humanities and Digital Sciences; TSH: Commun. and Inform. Sciences; TSH: Department Communication and Cognition;
Is part of
M Communication and Information Sciences
Contact persondr. R. van Enschot
A. Abrahamian
Other course modules lecturer
dr. R. van Enschot
Other course modules lecturer
Coordinator course
dr. R. van Enschot
Other course modules lecturer
dr. R.M.F. Koolen
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2019
Starting block
Course mode
Registration openfrom 14/10/2019 up to and including 24/01/2020

After this course, you will be able to:
  • Interpret and explain relevant concepts with regard to data and misleading information.
  • Critically assess the accuracy of professional messages.
  • Apply scientific literature to reflect on professional cases, with the aim to generate a critical opinion on the subject matter.
How factual were the Brexit and Bremain campaign frames? How do graphs mislead? Why do conspiracy theories appeal? Why do people keep believing in the link between vaccinations and autism? This course is about developing a critical attitude towards data and information in online professional messages. Our first focus is on data and ‘facts’ (factoids, alternative facts, et cetera). It is often assumed that these are objective ‘nuggets of truth’ but you will learn how data and facts can also be biased. We then move on to the interpretation of these data and facts. Even with truthful data and facts, we are still confronted with misleading information on a daily basis. This misleading information can be spread intentionally or not: the media may deliberately spread information to deceive other people (disinformation), or they can do so based on an honest mistake (misinformation). Either way, in this course, you are going to develop the skills to critically assess data and information.

We will focus specifically on:
  • Framing in online professional messages (making certain aspects of reality stand out while hiding other aspects)
  • Fact-checking: Finding and checking factual assertions in text, photos and videos of online professional messages
  • The varying quality of data sets (e.g., questionable research practices)
  • Conspiracy theories and filter bubbles
  • (Misleading) data visualizations
  • Dealing with misleading information - the receiver's perspective - sticky myths and ignored facts
We will discuss current research and all kinds of online professional messages. There will be expert guest speakers from various domains.

Preparation for the labor market
Being able to critically assess data and information is valuable in all professional domains. Not taking given information for granted, knowing how to debunk misleading information and being able to present truthful information are all highly appreciated and much needed skills.
Note: assignment to subgroups will be determined at the start of the course.

Course available for exchange students
Master level, conditions apply
Timetable information
Data and (mis)information
Required materials
Recommended materials
Several academic articles serve as study material; to be announced on Canvas
Written exam

Final Result

Individual portfolio

Group project

Kies de Nederlandse taal