The next step is to Investigate the answers to the questions you asked yourself at the STOP step:
In the previous video, Mike Caulfield explains how to use Wikipedia and a quick Google search to gather more information about a source to understand its purpose and creators.
To do a quick evaluation of a site:
KEYPOINT: Wikipedia can get a bad rep sometimes because anyone can edit the pages.
In today's information landscape, you'll often find news and commentary sites using Tweets or other social media posts in their reporting. Or someone you know will share a post that makes you STOP.
Applying a few quick investigative steps can help you add context back to a conversation or verify the credibility of the author:
Images are frequently edited or taken out of context on the internet. In a few steps, you can check to see if it has been changed or used in an incorrect way.
Let's say you're checking out the news and see an article with the headline below from Slate.
You STOP because you see a headline with some interesting and not very flattering terms but you're not familiar with this source. What kind of site would post this type of headline?
So you open a new tab and do a quick search or perhaps even add Wikipedia to your search:
Your search results should include Wikipedia entries either as the first few or on the right side of the page.
On the Wikipedia page (below), you should note a few things that will help you get an idea of the purpose of Slate as a source and therefore whether you want to read or use the information from that article.
First, they're described as a "liberal progressive online magazine". This tells us a bit about the perspectives you will read in their articles and that it could perhaps be missing other perspectives.
Next, you'll see that a former editor-in-chief described their purpose as "helping readers to analyze and understand and interpret the world". So they are not sharing straight, unbiased news but rather sharing the viewpoints of their authors. This can explain their headline with loaded language that you normally wouldn't see in news that upholds journalistic standards of objectivity.
Based on these two facts from Wikipedia, you now know:
a) if the article will fit your information need. If you're looking for less biased information or a strictly factual account of the problems at Southwest Airlines in 2021, this might not be the choice.
b) the context of the information being presented - what cultural view the authors are taking, for example.
Now you try it...
Write down your reflections on this process below in your notebook or online document.
While Twitter can be a valuable primary source of up to date information, it is also a place where emotions are high, fact-checking can be low and mis-information spreads quickly.
Being able to quickly determine the reliability of a source is essential! Mike Caulfield's video below provides a quick demonstration of how to check sources on Twitter (and social media in general!)
So much of the information we take in online is visual including images. In addition, those images can be manipulated (Photoshopped), captioned incorrectly or used in the wrong context. In the short video below, Mike Caulfield shows some tricks for determining the real context of an image.
Note: The information on this SIFT guide was adapted from "Check, Please!" (Caulfield) & the adaptation guide from Wayne State University. The canonical version of this course is available at http://lessons.checkplease.cc (Links to an external site). The text and media of this site, where possible, is released into the CC-BY, and free for reuse and revision. We ask people copying this course to leave this note intact so that students and teachers can find their way back to the original (periodically updated) version if necessary. We also ask librarians and reporters to consider linking to the canonical version.
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