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Fake News: Check Your Claim

Fake News is Bad! Here's How to Watch Out For It

Practice Makes Perfect

Use the tips throughout this LibGuide to check your own claim, or use one of the claims listed below for practice.  Remember, fake news articles may fall under multiple categories and might even mix in a few facts amid their falsehoods.

Keep in Mind...

What to Think Bout the News Infographic.

Quick and Simple Debunking Exercise

Compare these two links.  Which one do you think is true?  Why or why not?

1.  Eat This Not That: Shocking Facts About Farmed Salmon
2.  Washington State Department of Health: Farmed vs. Wild Salmon

See Tim Snow tsnow@rio.edu for answers.

CRAAP Test

CRAAP is an acronym for Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose. The CRAAP Test offers the following criteria or questions to help critically evaluate any information source:

Currency: the timeliness of the information

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Is the information current or out-of date for your topic?
  • Are the links functional?   

Relevance: the importance of the information for your needs

  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)?
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?
  • Would you be comfortable using this source for a research paper?

Authority: the source of the information

  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • Are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?
  • What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?
  • What are the author's qualifications to write on the topic?
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or e-mail address?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?
    •  examples:
      • .com (commercial), .edu (educational), .gov (U.S. government)
      • .org (nonprofit organization), or
      • .net (network)

Accuracy: the reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content

  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
  • Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
  • Does the language or tone seem biased and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?

Purpose: the reason the information exists

  • What is the purpose of the information? to inform? teach? sell? entertain? persuade?
  • Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Is the information fact? opinion? propaganda?
  • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?

Source:  Benedictine University Library - https://researchguides.ben.edu/source-evaluation

Tips for Fact Checking and Avoiding Fake News

  1. When you open up a news article in your browser, open a second, empty tab.  Use that second window to look up claims, author credentials and organizations that you come across in the article.
  2. Fake news spans across all kinds of media - printed and online articles, podcasts, YouTube videos, radio shows, even still images. 
  3. As Mad-Eye Moody said in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, "Constant Vigilance!"  Always be ready to fact check.
  4. Even the best researchers will be fooled once in a while.  If you find yourself fooled by a fake news story, use your experience as a learning tool.

Select a Claim to Examine

What Makes Real News Real?

What Makes Real News Real? Infographic.

Elvis is Still Alive and Having Kids?!

Elvis is Still Alive and Having Kids?! Weekly World News Headline.