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ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods (CSRM) presents

What is evidence in a post-truth society?



17th April 2018


The Common Room, University House, Liversidge Street, ANU


Dr Liz Allen, Demographer, ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences.
Mr Eryk Bagshaw, Economics Reporter, Fairfax Media.
Ms Jenny Gordon, Principal Adviser Research, Productivity Commission.
Ms Danielle Wood, Budget Policy and Institutional Reform Program Director, Grattan Institute.
Professor Glenn Withers, Professor of Economics, Research School of Economics, College of Business and Economics, ANU.



Evidence is fundamental to decision-making. As individuals, we make decisions based on the information available to us, which often includes personal experience. Governments and lawmakers are faced with making decisions in our best interests, and data informing evidence is crucial. But experts, data, and evidence are increasingly being challenged and so-called alternative facts are more readily promoted, especially through social media and online news platforms. In this era of fake news and alternative facts, have we moved beyond facts into a post-truth society where emotions and ideologies trump expertise and reliable evidence? What’s the way forward?

Facilitated by Liz Allen (CSRM), we’ll hear from Eryk Bagshaw (Fairfax Media), Jenny Gordon (on leave from the Productivity Commission), Danielle Wood (Grattan Institute), and Glenn Withers (Australian National University) about the meaning and communication of evidence in contemporary society. The panel will delve deep into the role of evidence, evidence-building and expertise in a post-truth society.

This event is the inaugural Citizen Social Scientists seminar. The Citizen Social Scientists series is designed to encourage public discussion and promote awareness about data and methods of social research. The intended audience includes business and industry, policymakers, academics, researchers, data users and the general public.

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