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This is a guide created for the PSB2000 course on finding scholarly information and evaluating peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed articles.

Fact-Checking Tools

Image Checking Tools

Website Evaluation

When evaluating online resources, it's hard to let go of our own biases. However, often Fake News can be used as a tool to keep those biases in check. Learning to look deeper using tools presented in this research guide is the first step. You don't have to agree with everything that you read, but sometimes making the best case you can for a perspective or argument that conflicts with your own beliefs and perceptions will help you make your own arguments better.

Chainsawsuit comic by Kris Straub, from Sept. 16, 2014

Inform Your Thinking Video

Attribution: Oklahoma State University Libraries Inform Your Thinking Series

How to Spot Fake News

Infographic: "How to Spot Fake News"

What is fake news?

Fake news is content generated by non-news organizations in order to drive eyeballs to ads or to spread information that is neither sourced or supported by facts. Fake news is not news that does not align with your political views.

Examples of fake news sources aggregated by CBS (link)

Why should you care about Fake News?

1. Fake news destroys your credibility. If your research uses made up or false information, you may fail a course or have your research rejected. If your arguments are built on bad information, people may not believe you in future conversations.

2. Fake news can hurt you, and a lot of other people. Purveyors of fake and misleading medical advice can perpetuate myths (like vaccines cause autism). These websites or blogs spread dangerous lies

3. Real news can benefit you. If you want to buy stock in a company, you want to read accurate articles about that company so you can invest wisely. If you are planning on voting in an election, you want to read valid and factual information on a candidate so you can vote for the person who best represents your ideas and beliefs.

4. You deserve the truth. You are smart enough to make up your own mind - as long as you have the real facts in front of you. You can learn to critically evaluate online resources to find the facts.

Types of Fake News

Bias: Sources that come from a particular point of view and may rely on propaganda, decontextualized information, and opinions distorted as facts. 

Clickbait: Outrageous headlines and stories designed to get readers to click open links to a particular webpage. Also referred to as a strategically placed hyperlink. Often uses exaggeration, questionable headlines, misleading social media descriptions, or fictitious images.

Confirmation Bias: When researchers or students seek out information that only confirms their existing beliefs. 

Hoax News: Sources that intentionally fabricate information, disseminate deceptive content, or distort actual news reports.

Parody/Satire: Sources that use humor, irony, exaggeration, ridicule, and false information to comment on current events. While they often use false headlines, they are created to poke fun at current events or people, not to convince readers that the information is true.

Rumor Mill: Sources that focus on rumors, gossip, innuendo, and unverified claims.

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