Critical thinking is a key skill in media and information literacy, and teaching people how to be better consumers of information is a fundamental task at the heart of the library profession.
Have questions about evaluating sources?
Ask us in person at any library service desk and online anytime.
Want help spotting fake news?
Follow these eight simple steps to discover the verifiability of a news piece:
- Consider the source: Click away from the story to investigate the site, its mission and its contact info.
- Read beyond: Headlines can be outrageous in an effort to get clicks. What’s the whole story?
- Check the author: Do a quick search on the author. Are they credible? Are they real?
- Supporting sources? Click on those links. Determine if the info given actually supports the story.
- Check the date: Reposting old news stories doesn’t mean they’re relevant to current events.
- Is it a joke? If it is too outlandish, it might be satire. Research the site and author to be sure.
- Check your biases: Consider if your own beliefs could affect your judgement.
- Ask the experts: Ask a librarian, or consult a fact-checking site.
- American Press Institute: Six questions that will tell you what media to trust »
- PolitiFact: Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking website
- Factcheck.org: A project from the Annenberg Public Policy Center
- Snopes.com: The long-standing debunking website