Jason Braasch, Ph.D.



Society for Text & Discourse


Jason Braasch, Ph.D.

University of Memphis

"Evaluating (Mis)Information: Research to Identify Effective Strategies"

Dr. Braasch investigates how people’s knowledge and beliefs affect their comprehension, interpretation, and evaluation of information. The research is directly relevant to the well-documented finding that people tend to reject new information that opposes their knowledge and beliefs. His research explores how to make it less likely that such information will be rejected. His work is critical in this current time of science mistrust and skepticism among members of the public.

Dr. Braasch’s work acknowledges the importance of careful analysis of disciplinary concepts and principles in the development of interventions. Thus, he has focused on topics, concepts, and principles that are regarded as central and important to comprehending scientific topics.  By carefully assessing participants’ prior knowledge and beliefs, Dr. Braasch has shown that instructional interventions have different effects (from large to none at all) across learners depending on the type of pre- or mis-conceptions they bring to the learning situation.

Dr. Braasch is making important contributions to our understanding of how individuals reconcile conflicts between their knowledge and new information. He has advanced design considerations for instructional interventions that help readers acquire more accurate and complete scientific understandings, given their prior knowledge and beliefs. He demonstrates broad methodological competence in researching these issues, successfully combining off-line (e.g., tests and questionnaires) and on-line (e.g., think-alouds, eye tracking) approaches. From an implementation standpoint his work demonstrates that simple assumptions about the efficacy of instructional treatments need to carefully consider the characteristics of learners and anticipate that the “same” instruction will not have the “same” impact on all learners. Dr. Braasch has developed interventions that supported students’ processing of source characteristics of documents as a critical aspect of evaluating the objectivity and “truth value” of information from different sources. More broadly, Dr. Braasch’s work has shown that discrepancy detection and sourcing and the role these processes play in synthesizing information from multiple conflicting sources are central to societal concerns about the rejection of science, reconstruction of history, and susceptibility to unreliable information.

Dr. Braasch has spoken on the importance of critical thinking and Internet source evaluation to high school, undergraduate, and graduate students in international (France, Germany, and Norway) and US contexts. He will be presenting at the Governor’s School for International Studies-a Tennessee-wide initiative engaging high school students in discussions about global cultures, foreign languages, and international perspectives. The goal of these activities is to optimize readers’ evaluation of the veracity of the information they read on scientific topics, thus promoting informed decision making.

Additionally, he has participated in professional development workshops with graduate students in the US and abroad, addressing the importance of adopting diverse, complementary research methods when studying science learning (e.g., assessments based on think-alouds, eye-tracking data). The goal of these activities is to provide emerging researchers with a toolkit of assessments for investigating cognitive processes occurring during science learning. Dr. Braasch has also tutored middle school students in Memphis’ most underserved neighborhoods. Informed by his and others’ research on conceptual change learning in mathematics and science, he focuses on illuminating and then remediating problematic understandings. The goal of these activities is to use best practices to help academically-struggling students overcome problematic conceptions in mathematics and science.

Dr. Braasch is an Assistant Professor at the University of Memphis. He previously was a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Oslo and University of Poitiers.