"All of the research in the world won't help educate you on a controversial issue or statement if you don't look at the evidence and try to draw your own conclusions from it...............Read up on opinions for and against. Do the basic arguments make sense? Are the arguments simply ad hominems (attacks against the other side) or is there actual evidence backing up the claims? And what does the other side have to say about those claims?"
These are important considerations.
I'd like to see lots of debate practice in schools and understanding of how to put an argument together, that of gathering evidence, establishing cause and effect, and proposing a view, but being able to either incorporate opposing views or discounting them properly rather than "he's an idiot so I'm not going to listen to what he has to say" - I've had to work on listening to Owen Jones for instance because I've disagreed with so much of what he's said in the past, my brain does want to take the short cut
Actually this is documented - our brains like to form patterns and make shortcuts because they have evolved to do that. But, it's not terribly logical and we should be on our guard for it in politics
I find that more and more I am disappointed that debate in this country is so poor. "Tories eat babies" seems to be dominant meme amongst the left, and "The left are stupid morons" seems to be that on the right and neither side listen to each other. In part I am a centrist because the other two annoy me so much with their shorthand for each other, and because I believe in the power of the Dialectic Method - that of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis - that through pitting the arguments against each other and removing what isn't true and keeping what is, we end up with better ideas and policy.
And all this goes part way to describing why I think the Lib Dems are the best *bleeping*