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Evaluating Information

Tips for Evaluating Online Information

  Do what professional Fact-Checkers do -- READ LATERALLY -- Instead of staying with one website, Evaluate a source by reading about it on other, trustworthy sites.

  Don't trust the site's About page. Fact-checkers don't evaluate a site based solely on the site's description about itself.  Sites can masquerade as something they are not when you did deeply and investigate the source.  Learn HOW TO SPOT FAKE NEWS.

  Don't trust Google to order or sort your search results. Search results can be manipulated by clever search teams and metadata. Search engines are not truth detectors so it's up to you need to decipher your results list. Practice CLICK RESTRAINT before clicking on any results. Look for clues by examining the titles, urls, and snippets before clicking on any results.

  Practice SIFT

STOP. Pause and ask yourself if you recognize the source or now anything about its reputation.

 INVESTIGATE the Source - Check other sites, even Wikipedia for more information. 

 FIND trusted coverage - look for credible sources by comparing information across different sources.

 TRACE claims, quotes, and media back to the original context.

Learn More

This guide draws largely on research from the Stanford History Education Group and on teaching materials from Mike Caulfield's SIFT approach and his Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers.

Evaluating Online Sources: A Toolkit Source: Rowan University CC-BY-NC-SA