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BIOL 110

Evaluating Information


  • Evidence
  • Do the facts hold up? 
  • Can you verify - names, numbers, places, documents?
  • Source
  • Who made this? It is trustworthy?
  • Trace who has touched the information - authors, publishers, funders, aggregators, social media users
  • Context
  • What's the big picture?
  • Is the whole story presented?  What are the other forces surrounding it - current events, cultural trends, political goals, financial pressures?
  • Audience
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Look for attempts to appeal to specific groups or types of people - image choices, presentation techniques, language, content
  • Purpose
  • Why was this made?
  • Look for clues to the motivation - publisher's mission, persuasive language or images, moneymaking tactics, stated or unstated agendas, calls to action
  • Execution
  • How is the information presented?
  • Consider how the way it's made affects the impact - style, grammar, tone, image choices, placement/layout

Fact Checking Resources

How to Read Science News