Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Disinformation: fake news, propaganda & more: Tips for Evaluating News Stories

How to Spot Fake News

How to Spot Fake News

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's too outlandish, it may be satire. Research the author and site 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.

Image Source: IFLA

Use the CRAP Test

With resources like Google at our fingertips, information isn't hard to find. What is challenging is determining whether that information is credible and can be trusted. Is it factual? Biased? Relevant to your topic?

A Google search is often our first stop to gain a basic understanding of the main ideas about a topic, but since anyone with access to a computer can publish anything online, it is crucial that you evaluate the information you find, especially when completing a research paper, or looking for important information (like health or financial information).

Web sources can be particularly hard to evaluate, so we've developed this handy acronym to help you determine if a source may be CRAP.

 

 

  • CURRENCY How recently was this information published/posted? Can you find a publication date?
  • RELIABILITYIs the information supported by evidence? Can it be confirmed by other sources?
  • AUTHORITYWho wrote the information - are they an expert or knowledgeable in their field? (i.e. For health information, did a doctor or nurse write it? For science information, did a scientist or researcher write it?)
  • PURPOSE / POINT OF VIEWWhy was it written? To sell something? To sway opinion? Is it biased toward a particular point of view?

Why check for accuracy?

How Good are You at Spotting Fake News?

Play this game to see how well you evaluate the news.

Facticious

Ukiah Campus: 707.468.3053 | Coast Center: 707.961.2200 | Lake Center: 707.263.4944 | North County Center: 707.459.6224
Email: Library Webmaster | Mendocino Community College

Powered by Springshare. Login to LibApps