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Central High School Library Home Page: Evaluating Sources

Why do we need to evaluate sources?


What do you notice about the tweets below? What conclusions can you reach about how information spreads? 

(Hint: note the number of quote tweets and retweets)

How Can We Evaluate Sources?

One way to evaluate sources is to use the SIFT Method. Click below to learn how to SIFT.  




Sift Method: STOP

 Questions to Consider (Video 1) 

1) Why is it important to know what is true and what is not? 

2) What is the Stanford Experiment? What does it tell us?  

Investigate the Source

Watch the video below to learn strategies to INVESTIGATE the source. 

Find the Better Coverage

Trace the Source

Watch the John Green Videos Below (I=Investigate the Source, F=Find Better Coverage)

John Green has a few ideas to add about finding other coverage a.k.a. lateral research. 

Why We Need the Sift Method (from the New York Times)

Opinion: “Don’t Go Down the Rabbit Hole” (Charlie Warzel, The New York Times).

  • Note: The SIFT method featured in this column was created by Mike Caulfield in 2019 based on the “Four Moves” verification technique he introduced in 2017. Though we endorse this approach, it is not affiliated with The Sift newsletter. The credit belongs entirely to Caulfield.
  • Related: “SIFT (The Four Moves)” (Mike Caulfield, Hapgood).
  • Discuss: How can critically scrutinizing a misleading or deceptive website by focusing on its details go wrong? Why would you want to know more about a source of information before you give it your attention? What can a quick web search about a misinformation website tell you that the details of the website itself may not? How is detecting false information from a dubious source different than evaluating the quality of information from a known, credible source?

How can I fact-check on my own?

How can you fact-check what you're reading? Use these tools below!


Use this infographic to help you figure out whether the news you encounter is credible. 


Use Media WIse to locate or add a fact check.

The MediaWise Teen Fact-Checking Network (TFCN) publishes daily fact-checks for teenagers, by teenagers. The program is a verified signatory of the International Fact-Checking Network’s code of principles.

In 2020, the TFCN is focused on fact-checking social media content related to the novel coronavirus. Our team of teen fact-checkers — reporting from more than a dozen states in the U.S. — has published more than 50 fact-checks related to COVID-19 as of May 7.

TFCN fact-checks are unique in that they both debunk misinformation and teach the audience media literacy skills so they can fact-check on their own. On average, 86% of respondents polled on the MediaWise Instagram account recently reported they were more likely to fact-check on their own after watching a TFCN fact-check story.

Follow @MediaWise on TwitterInstagramTikTokFacebook and YouTube to see new fact-checks posted daily and learn how you can apply to be part of this program.


Source: CommonSense Media (sign in with Clever) 



Games and Quizzes

The Spot-The-Troll quiz is an educational tool to help the public learn to spot the markers of inauthenticity in social media accounts. Can you spot a troll?

Source: The Clemson University Media Forensics Hub presents:

Take the quiz to test whether you can sort fact from fiction related to COVID-19 information. The World Health Organization called the deluge of information and misinformation about the pandemic an “infodemic’ for good reason.


The best way for you to help reduce misinformation online is to avoid sharing it. But can you tell the difference between social media posts that are false or misleading and those that are credible?

Source: The News Literacy Project  

The Bad News Game puts players in the position of the people who create manipulative news stories, and as such gain insight into the various tactics and methods used by ‘real’ fake news-mongers to spread their message.

Source:DROG (, 


Can you spot "fake news"? Try Factitious and find out! [Works on Firefox & Chrome only.]

Sources: JoLT &  The American University Game Lab



Covid Fact Checker

Viral Rumors Rundown

Viral rumor rundown 4/27


NO: There is no evidence that Black Lives Matter activists or anyone identifying as “Antifa” — an unofficial anti-fascism movement — started a fire at a church in Minneapolis on April 19. YES: The church caught fire the night before the verdict in the Derek Chauvin murder trial. YES: A Minneapolis Fire Department official told The Catholic Spirit, a publication of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, “There [are] no indications that the fire is associated with any civil unrest.” NO: The Instagram account that shared this rumor — @republicanparty — is not the official account of the Republican Party.

Note: The Instagram account that shared this false claim also promotes a “patriotic clothing brand.” Promoting disinformation on social media may be a strategy to increase traffic to that brand’s website, which is linked in the account’s bio.


NO: There is no link between messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines for COVID-19 and autoimmune diseases or lung damage. NO: The mRNA vaccines do not alter your DNA. YES: The underlying science for the vaccines was under development prior to the pandemic. YES: These false claims were pushed last week in a viral video featuring Sherri Tenpenny, an osteopathic physician and major spreader of vaccine misinformation who believes in an array of baseless conspiracy theories. YES: Extensive medical trial data has proven the mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 to be both safe and effective, a conclusion supported by global health authorities.

Note: A recent report from the Center for Countering Digital Hate named Tenpenny a member of the “Disinformation Dozen,” a group of 12 individuals and organizations responsible for up to 65% of anti-vaccine content on social media platforms.

Also note: According to a recent Monmouth University poll, “about 1 in 5 American adults remain unwilling to get the Covid vaccine.”



NO: These two photos of Palm Beach, a suburban beach town near Sydney, Australia, do not demonstrate that sea levels aren’t rising. YES: According to experts at NASA, sea levels in Sydney rose by nearly five inches during the 20th century. NO: This type of photo comparison is not a reliable way to measure changes in sea level. YES: There is overwhelming scientific evidence that human activity is causing the Earth’s temperature to increase, and sea levels are rising as a result.

Note: You can explore the rate of change in global sea levels since 1880 on this National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration webpage.

Related: “As extreme weather increases, climate misinformation adapts” (David Klepper, The Associated Press).

News about Fake News

  • Note: This Twitter thread from Tommy Shane, of First Draft, explores how the design and functionality of TikTok’s new misinformation labels may impact their effectiveness.
  • Also note: In a Feb. 7 Bloomberg opinion column, Cass R. Sunstein argues that because we are all vulnerable to “truth bias” — the persistent sense that there is at least some truth to everything we hear — labeling misinformation online doesn’t reverse its effects.
  • Discuss: What kinds of misinformation have you seen on TikTok? If you were the CEO, how would you go about addressing misinformation and other harmful content on TikTok? Is labeling misinformation an effective way to limit its effects? Do you think social media platforms should just ban or remove all misinformation? Would this be possible? Why or why not?
  • Related: “TikTok takes on the mess that is misinformation” (Danielle Abril, Fortune).

More Teacher Resources

Introducing Lateral Reading before Research

We The Voters | PBS LearningMedia › collection › wethevoters

Before the 2016 Election, PBS Education partnered with We The Voters, a nonpartisan digital project featuring short films to activate voters across the country.

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