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Journalism, Communication Studies & News

Finding Reliable Sources

Fact Checking Tools

First Draft News: short videos on how to fact check

Bias in Media Sites

Evaluate News / Newspapers - from allgeneralizationsarefalse.com

Evaluate Images  

Try a Google Image reverse search

TinEye Reverse Image Search

                                                                                                                http://s3.amazonaws.com/libapps/accounts/9927/images/HonestAbe.jpg

Don't believe everything you read. Ask some critical questions about every website:

Who

  • Is the author easily identified?  - check for an "About us" link
  • Why should I trust what they say?  - check author's reputation in Google
  • Are they credible?  - look for relevant educational qualifications and professional experience

What

  • What type of information is provided?   - personal opinions? research findings?
  • Does the author cite sources so that you can verify the info?   - confirm in other sources
  • Are the sources scholarly?   - see features of scholarly journals

Why

  • Is the author trying to sell something?   - watch especially with .com websites
  • Does the author or organization have a political or ideological bias, and only present one point of view?   - look them up on Google

When

  • How current is the information?   - look for sites that are updated regularly;  some areas can change rapidly, e.g. medicine, law

How

  • Is the site logically arranged?   - avoid sites with many dead links
  • Does the site look professional?   - not full of misspellings

When conducting research it is important to distinguish between journal articles and magazine articles. Journal articles are typically referred to as "scholarly" or "refereed" while magazine articles are usually considered "popular" or "sensational". Always know which type is acceptable for your research.

 

Refereed or Scholarly Journal

Trade Publication

Popular Magazine

Format

Has serious format

Attractive in appearance

Generally glossy & attractive format

Graphics

Graphs and charts to illustrate concepts

Photos, graphics and illustrations used to enhance articles

Photos, illustrations and drawing to enhance image of publication

Sources

Cited sources with footnotes and/or bibliography

Occasionally cite sources, but not as a rule

Rarely cite sources. Original sources may be obscure

Authors

Written by scholars or researchers in the field or discipline

Written by professionals or experts in the field

Written by the staff or free-lance writers for a broad audience

Language

Uses terminology, jargon, and the language of the discipline. Reader is assumed to have similar background

Uses language appropriate for an educated readership

Uses simple language for minimal educational level. Articles are short, with little depth

Purpose

To inform, report, or make original research available to the scholarly world

Report on trends in  specific industry, business or organization; give practical advice

Designed to entertain or persuade, to sell products or services

Publishers

Generally published by a professional organization

Published by commercial enterprises for profit

Published for profit

Advertising

Contains selective advertising

Carries advertising, mostly trade related

Contains extensive advertising