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Eng 105 - Review and Evaluation: The Ny Times on Adhd

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Valerie Ansley        


15 January 2019

Russell Tiedt        

Review and Evaluation: The NY Times on ADHD

The New York Times, sometimes referred to as the NY Times, released an article on Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, and its medicinal treatments. The article in question, which was written by Alan Schwarz, is titled “Attention Disorder or Not, Pills to Help in School”. Within the article, Schwarz writes about the use of medications such as Adderall to boost focus and impulse control in children with ADHD, but the medication and ones similar have become popular among more than just ADHD sufferers for their help. With this source, many would not be quick to take medical advice from a tabloid or international paper such as the New York Times. However, there are other ways to grade the credibility of an article, especially one that can be considered medical. Within any informative article, the most important criteria to investigate to assess the credibility of the source are currency, authority, and accuracy.

The first set of criteria to investigate within a source to establish its credibility is currency. If an article was written within the last five years, the reader can usually safely assume that the information given is quite recent and up to date. It is sometimes quite rare for more information to come out on a subject, especially when it is a subject such as ADHD that is constantly being researched but takes large amounts of time for breakthroughs. On the other hand, if the reader can see that the article was released a decade ago and has never been updated, they can usually assume that the information is quite outdated and there are more credible sources with improved material. The article in question from the New York Times was published in early October of the year 2012, which at first glance does not seem too long ago. At this time, 2012 was actually a little over six years ago. This amount of time is not too much over the usual five years or less is best for credibility, but it is nonetheless. This means that this source is not the greatest for current information.

Another set of criteria to investigate within a source to establish its credibility is authority. Most readers would be quicker to take information or advice from an expert in the subject than they would from a protestor yelling at them in the street. Looking into who wrote an article, as well as their education and credibility, is very important to assess how accurate an article’s information can be. With this article on the New York Times website, the author is an NY Times Pulitzer Prize finalist by the name of Alan Schwarz. Alan Schwarz graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics. Many would not believe someone with this type of degree would be very qualified to speak on medical matters. However, Schwarz has written multiple books on ADHD, as well as “exposed the issue of concussions in the NFL, bringing the seriousness of brain injuries to worldwide attention” (Schwarz 2018). While Schwarz usually participates in sports information, he displays knowledge within the medical field, as well as participating in TedTalks. With this information, the information can be a bit iffy. Some people may choose to take this information as Schwarz is less than qualified. Others may think that he is just fine to be spreading information on this topic. Authority can be a large matter of opinion from the audience.

Lastly, one of the most important criteria to look closely at within an article is accuracy. If a reader finds information that does not match up to information given on any other websites, it is usually safe to assume that the information is not completely correct. Many factors can contribute to this from bias to lack of research. Comparing sources is a great way to make sure that the information you are reading is credible and accurate. Within the article, Schwarz uses statistics such as “about 9.5 percent of Americans ages 4 to 17 were judged to have (ADHD) in 2007, or about 5.4 million children” (Schwarz 2012). This use of statistical data helps put the minds of readers at ease that this is credible and accurate information. A quick statistic check on the CDC website shows that the statistic is, in fact, correct. On the CDC data page for ADHD, they state “the percent of children four to seven years of age ever diagnosed with ADHD had previously increased, from 7.8% in 2003 to 9.5% in 2007 and to 11.0% in 2011-12” (CDC 2018). Although this shows that Schwarz did his research and gave his audience accurate information, he also includes the opinions and diagnoses of a doctor who says he does not believe that ADHD even exists. This puts a bit of a strain on the trust of the audience.



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