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Evaluating Websites

How to judge if you are looking at reliable information on the Internet.

Lateral Reading/News Literacy

Tips for Lateral Reading

  • Look for the original source of the information. When you see "According to xxyNews" or "Research says"... find those sources.
  • Google search a domain: baltimoregazette.com -site:baltimoregazette.com. . This way you'll find articles talking about the site, not on the site.
  • Check the Waybackmachine for page changes
  • Look up the domain who owns the domain/ when it was created at https://lookup.icann.org/
  • Use Google Scholar to check author expertise
  • Find the topic fact-checked elsewhere using site: and the topic in Google.
  • For example site:snopes.com obama iraqi visa ban 2011
  • Use Google Scholar to see if articles were cited by peers. Look up the impact factor of a journal - google search “impact factor” “name of journal” The impact factor measures “the journal’s influence in the academic community. While a flawed metric for assessing the relative importance of journals, it is a useful tool for quickly identifying journals that are not part of a known circle of academic discourse, or that are not peer-reviewed.” (Caufield, 2021)

Read Laterally 

Most fact-checkers use Wikipedia to start either to find information in wikipedia or to verify information in the references. 

Fact Checking Sites

screenshots of sources with boxes around connecting information to original sources

  • If you reveal that your source is questionable, low quality, or untrustworthy...
  • Stop immediately and circle back to where you started
  • Try a fresh, new search with stronger keywords and search terms using reliable and trustworthy sources.
  • Use what you have found to find a higher quality source