When choosing books, articles, websites, and other sources to use for your research, evaluate them to determine whether and how to use them.
The timeliness of the information:
The importance of the information in relation to your topic:
Consider the source:
The reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the informational content:
The reason the information exists:
Wikipedia is a tool that can be useful for your research as long as you understand how to use it and its limitations.
Consider the Source: Click away from the story to investigate the site, its mission and its contact info.
Check the Author: Do a quick search on the author. Are they credible? Are they real?
Read Beyond: Headlines can be outrageous in an effort to get clicks. What’s the whole story?
Check the Date: Reposting old news stories doesn’t mean they’re relevant to current events.
Check Your Biases: Consider if your own beliefs could affect your judgment.
Supporting Sources: Click on those links. Determine if the info given actually supports the story.
Is It a Joke?: If it is too outlandish, it might be satire. Research the site and author to be sure.
Ask the Experts: Ask a librarian, or consult a fact-checking site.
Anspach, N. M., & Carlson, T. N. (2020). What to Believe? Social Media Commentary and Belief in Misinformation. Political Behavior, 42(3), 697–718. https://proxy.umpqua.edu/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=145258670&site=eds-live&scope=site
Get your news from credible journalistic sources instead of social media. Any sources that you do see on social media, ignore the comments and headlines -- click through and read the source itself and any sources it cites.
Americans are increasingly turning to social media for political information. However, given that the average social media user only clicks through on a small fraction of the political content available, the brief article previews that appear in the News Feed likely serve as shortcuts to political information. Yet, in addition to sharing political news, social media also allow users to make their own comments on news posts, comments which may challenge or distort the information contained in the articles. In this paper, we first analyze how social media posts on Twitter and Facebook differ from the actual content of their linked news articles, finding that social media comments regularly misrepresent the facts reported in the news. We then use a survey experiment to test the consequences of these information discrepancies. Specifically, we randomly assign individuals to read a full news article, a news article preview post (as seen on Facebook), or a news article preview with misinformative social commentary attached. We find that individuals in the social commentary conditions are more misinformed about the featured topic, tending to report the factually-incorrect information relayed in the comments rather than the factually-correct information embedded within the article preview.
Umpqua Community College Library, 1140 Umpqua College Rd., Roseburg, OR 97470, 541-440-4640
Except where otherwise noted, content in these research guides is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.