Information Credibility

In today's culture, we see rampant misrepresentation of the truth.  Photographs are easily edited, the use of social media distributes misinformation at an alarming rate, and media bias is distorting news to serve liberal and conservative agendas.  Using trusted sources, verifying the information through multiple sources, and applying common sense will help ensure the accuracy of the information you regard as credible.  Use the following criteria to make an informed decision:

CURRENCY  

  • Is the information recent? 

  • What is the publication date of print material?

  • What is the copyright date on the website?  When was it last updated?

AUTHORITY 

  • What are the credentials of the author or source of the information? 

  • Has the author been published frequently?  How often are their pieces cited by other authors?

  • Was the information published in a respected journal, magazine, or newspaper?

  • Does the website url tell you it originated with a reputable source?

  • Can you contact the author?

ACCURACY 

  • Can the same information be found through multiple sources?

  • Is there evidence (supplementary reports, data) to support the information?

  • Are there obvious errors in the material (spelling, grammar)?

RELEVANCE

  • Is this information the best source for your needs?

  • Is there a better resource for the subject?

  • Is it "Click-bait" where the advertisements overwhelm the content?

PURPOSE

  • What does the author want to convey to their audience?

  • Is it evident the author is offering an opinion, trying to educate its audience, reporting first hand accounts, or attempting to sway to a particular cause?

  • Is bias evident, or does the author seem impartial?   

Spectrum of News Sources.jpg
man-reading-newspaper.png

TIPS

  • Read beyond the headline to verify it isn't simply "clickbait" to reroute you.

  • Check the links within a webpage to see if they work properly and take you to valid sites.

  • Investigate the author using Google Scholar and search by author's name or the article title.  How many times has the article or author been cited by other sources?

  • Use images.google.com to reverse search the image associated with an article and trace its origin.

  • Use multiple search engines to see how the results vary based on the algorithms each one uses.  Google has been accused of altering their algorithms to produce search results that support particular agendas or advertisers.  Here is one of several articles recently published on the subject (11/2019).