Skip to Main Content

Assessment Help: How to Spot Fake News

Study
Skills
Research Strategy Evaluate Resources Organise and Write Plagiarism Creative Commons APA Referencing

How to Spot Fake News

It is important to be able to tell if news is true and fair or if it is trying to trick you with false information.
Watch out for sources that might be biased or spreading fake news. The ability to tell the difference between true and fake news (misinformation or disinformation) is an important skill. 
Below is an infographic that can guide you on how to spot fake news:

Consider the source: click away from the story to investigate the site, its mission and its contact information. Read beyond: headlines can be outrageous in an effort to get clicks. What's the whole story? Check the author: do a quick search on the author. Are they credible? Are they real? Supporting sources: click on those links. Determine if the information given actually supports the story. Check the date: reposting old news stories doesn't mean they're relevant to current events.  It is a joke? if it too outlandish, it might be satire. Research the site and author to be sure. Check your biases: consider if your own beliefs could affect your judgement. Ask the experts: ask a librarian, or consult a fact-checking site.

Source: IFLA, https://www.ifla.org/resources/?oPubId=11174
This material is licensed under a CC BY 4.0 license.

Fact-Checking and Identifying Fake News Sites

Videos on How to Spot Fake News

Interactive Lessons: Identifying fake sources of information

Evaluating Sources: The CRAAP Test

Evaluation Criteria - CRAAP Test

CurrencyThe timeliness of the information.
• When was the information published or posted?
• Has the information been revised or updated?
• Does your topic require current information, or will older sources work as well?
• 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 citing this source in your research paper?

Authority: The source of the information.
• Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
• What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations?
• Is the author qualified to write on the topic?
• Is there contact information, such as a publisher or email address?
• Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source? examples: .com .edu .gov .org .net 

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 unbiased and free of emotion?

• Are there spelling, grammar or typographical errors?

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

 The CRAAP Test, created by Sarah Blakeslee and the librarians at California State University's Meriam Library.

 This work is licensed under Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) 

 

How to Evaluate Information Using the C.R.A.A.P. Test

How to evaluate information using the C.R.A.A.P. test to assess whether it is appropriate for your needs.

The C.R.A.A.P Game

TRAAP Test - Evaluating Information Sources

See also the TRAAP test by the Australian National University modified based on the CRAAP test.