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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 3/15

★ Viral rumor review: You can find the classroom-ready slides for this week's rundown here.

NO: The American Rescue Plan Act that was signed into law on March 11 does not award $25 million, or any other amount, as a bonus to members of the U.S. House of Representatives. NO: Previous versions of the bill did not include such a bonus either. YES: This is a false Facebook post that provides no evidence for its claim.

Also: NO: 92% of the $1.9 trillion of funding in the legislation is not going to “foreign entities.” YES: The conservative Heritage Foundation, which opposed the bill, described it as “almost entirely domestic spending.”


NO: The fourth “phase” of the Keystone pipeline project — called Keystone XL — was not “just about completed” nor was it “paid for” when President Joe Biden canceled it in January. YES: The first three phases of the Keystone Pipeline System — connecting Alberta, Canada, to Port Arthur, Texas — were completed by 2014. YES: The controversial Keystone XL pipeline project was blocked by former President Barack Obama, then later approved by former President Donald Trump, and blocked again by President Joe Biden in January. YES: About 94 miles of the 1,210 miles of the planned XL pipeline — or about 8% — had been built and a fraction of the estimated $8 billion cost had been pledged when Biden revoked the project’s permit.

Note: This is but one example of a number of false and misleading viral rumors (see hereherehere and here for examples) concerning Biden, the Keystone pipeline and the rising price of oil and gas.


NO: The medical worker in this video did not fake giving actor Anthony Hopkins a COVID-19 vaccination and instead squirt the vaccine onto the ground. YES: The worker was expelling excess vaccine occupying the “dead space” in the syringe, which is a standard part of administering injections of any medication. YES: A spokesperson for CHA Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center confirmed Hopkins received a full dose at a Los Angeles drive-thru vaccination point. NO: This Instagram account is not an official account of the Republican party, despite its name.

Discuss: What do you think motivates some people to see this as “evidence” that Hopkins faked his vaccination?


NO: Oprah Winfrey was not wearing an ankle monitor under her boots during her March 7 interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, the Duchess and Duke of Sussex. YES: This is a narrative fragment of the QAnon mass conspiratorial delusion, which contends that many public figures, including Winfrey, are part of a Satanic cabal of cannibalistic pedophiles, many of whom are secretly under house arrest.

Note: This isn’t the first time that baseless, conspiratorial “ankle monitor” rumors have circulated about Winfrey. They have also circulated about a number of other public figures (see hereherehere and here).



NO: Shredded and destroyed ballots containing votes from the 2020 presidential election were not found in a dumpster in Maricopa County, Arizona, prior to the start of a state Senate audit of election results. YES: The Maricopa County Elections Department confirmed to Lead Stories that by law voted ballots are kept for a 24-month retention period. YES: County election officials said “the 2.1 million voted ballots from the November General Election are safe and accounted for in a vault, under 24/7 surveillance.” YES: The ballots in the photo could be discarded sample ballots or unused mail-in ballots, according to the county. NO: Former President Donald Trump did not win the state of Arizona in 2020, as this Facebook post also claims.

Note: Numerous falsehoods about destroyed ballots circulated online throughout the 2020 election. Many of them were based on citizen “investigators” mistaking legally destroyed ballots for evidence of fraud.

Also note: This Facebook post links to a baseless story published on March 6 by the right-wing conspiracy website The Gateway Pundit. A recent analysis of election misinformation conducted by the Election Integrity Partnership found that the site was “a top repeat spreader” (see page 192) of election-related misinformation.



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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