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ENG 101 - Composition I: Critical Reading and Responding

Resource Evaluation Tips

When evaluating information there are a few items you want to look for and consider. Some areas of an article to look at right away include:

  1. Intended audience (Who would be likely to read this and why? What is the purpose of the article or periodical?)
    • Reading level (Does the writing use simple language or jargon? How difficult is it to read?)
  2. Authors (Can you find the expertise or credentials of the authors?)
  3. Reliability/accuracy (What evidence of either can you identify?)
  4. Footnotes or citations (Are the sources cited at the end of the article?)

Some types of misinformation

Misinformation is out there and being able to identifying it when you see it will make it easier to identify truthful and accurate information. Here are a few types of information to be aware of when interpreting your information environment:

Fake news

These are the easiest to debunk and often come from known sham sites that are designed to look like real news outlets. They may include misleading photographs and headlines that, at first read, sound like they could be real.

Misleading news

These are the hardest to debunk, because they often contain a kernel of truth: A fact, event or quote that has been taken out of context. Look for sensational headlines that aren't supported by the information in the article.

Highly partisan news

A type of misleading news, this may be an interpretation of a real news event where the facts are manipulated to fit an agenda.

Clickbait

The shocking or teasing headlines of these stories trick you into clicking for more information -- which may or may not live up to what was promised.

Satire

This one is tough, because satire doesn't pretend to be real and serves a purpose as commentary or entertainment. But if people are not familiar with a satire site, they can share the news as if it is legitimate

 

Citation:

Willngham, AJ. 2016, November 18. “Here’s How to Outsmart Fake News in Your Facebook Feed. CNN. http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/18/tech/how-to-spot-fake-misleading-news-trnd/.