The resources on this page will help you examine information carefully. Visit UC Berkeley library's helpful guide to Weeding Out BS (Bad Sources) and learn to avoid "falling victim to BS" by considering the source, the context, and the platform where the information is being shared.
Investigate the Source
Find Better Coverage
Professional fact checkers use a number of strategies to understand where information is coming from. Try this helpful trick in search engines to find out more about websites:
Create a search that looks like this:
website -site:web address.
The minus sign removes the website itself, and provides you with results that are ABOUT the website.
In my example search, I learned that acpeds.org is a political advocacy group, not a site about pediatric medicine. Notes: remember to consider the sites that write about the site you are looking up. Look at several results. Is there a consensus? Remember that the order of results in a web search may not tell you much about the information itself.
While this guide is meant to help people understand Information Disorder and use information literacy skills to recognize and stop the spread of COVID misinformation, information literacy can actually help stop all kinds of misinformation. Explore the mini-course and empower yourself!
Together, we can make a difference by making the world safer and saner, by identifying and refusing to share or publish inaccurate, false, or misleading information.
We hear the term "fake news" often, but what is more common is "confirmation bias" -- seeking information that we agree with, or that reinforces what we already know and believe.
So how do you decide what is true? Or what is biased? Some pointers:
Consider the source (article, website, etc.) itself, not whether it matches what you know or believe.
Examine your own biases.
Read articles from different perspectives and think critically about the point of view of each article or news source.
Three helpful resources:
Filter Bubbles from AllSides.com
News Literacy from University of Louisville Library
Six Questions That Will Tell You What Media to Trust from The American Press Institute
Beware of "balance bias"
You've probably read news articles about companies funding research that supports their industry. If you need help determining who funded research, ask a librarian. We're here to help!
What is a "good" source? There is no one right answer to this. Ask yourself:
Is it relevant to your topic?
Is it up-to-date?
Does it include references to other information or sources?
Is it authoritative?
What is its perspective?
Why was it created?
Who is the intended audience of your source? Who is your intended audience?
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