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Education: Digital Writing Institute: Evaluating Sources

Ask yourself

Some Questions to ask:

  • Where did this information come from?
  • Is the author an expert in the subject?
  • Does the author/publication cite its sources?
  • Compare the information given to information in other similar sources, including the sources it cites. 
  • Does the author or the publisher have an 'axe to grind,' i.e. a bias?
  • Is the source (author and/or publication) positively regarded? 
  • Is the information out of date?
  • Is this the information I need?

More suggestions:
"Evaluating Sources" from Perdue's Online Writing Lab

"How to Spot Fake News" IFLA infographic based on’s 2016 article

Which Side are They On?

Different news outlets-- and different subject area publications-- address a topic in different ways. In some cases, that is due to ideological leanings (usually of their target readership)-- in other, it's due to the very nature of the subject. Time MagazineThe Wall Street Journal, English Teacher, the Communications of the Association for Computing Machinery, and Nature will all address a concept in different ways.

Horizontal Fact-Checking

The information to the left is based on what is called a "CRAPP" analysis, where the user looks at various aspects of the work in front of them to evaluate it. 

However, most successful fact checkers do what has been dubbed: 'horizontal fact checking"-- looking for other sources, preferably trusted ones, that cover the same material and check to see if the information lines up.  Like science, the best research is reproducible. (Though watch carefully fo sources that all may be referencing the same original source!)

Fact-Checking Sites

Questions? Need Help? Email

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