Fake News and Evaluating Sources

Social Sciences Librarian

Getting Started Fact-checking: The Four Moves

The excellent ebook Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers recommends four moves or strategies you can follow whenever you encounter a claim you would like to check.  

  1. Check for previous work: Look around to see if someone else has already fact-checked the claim or provided a synthesis of research. Google or search the Fact-checking websites listed in this research guide. 
  2. Go upstream to the source: Go “upstream” to the source of the claim. Most web content is not original. Get to the original source to understand the trustworthiness of the information.
  3. Read laterally: Read laterally. Once you get to the source of a claim, read what other people say about the source (publication, author, etc.). The truth is in the network.
  4. Circle back: If you get lost, hit dead ends, or find yourself going down an increasingly confusing rabbit hole, back up and start over knowing what you know now. You’re likely to take a more informed path with different search terms and better decisions.

Image Forensics Tools

Image authenticity and prior use

Recognizing photomontage or modified photos

Tracing Memes

Memes are images, videos, text, usually ironic or satirical, that becomes viral.  These two tools help you track the creation and diffusion of the most well known viral memes. 

Analyzing Video

Learn more

Evaluating information sources can be a difficult and complicated process. The resources below may serve as guides as you build up your own strategies for determining what sources are trustworthy, valid, and factual.

Fact-checking websites

Assessing Scientific Journals

Not all scientific journals are the same. One way to check whether a scientific journal is worthy of trust is to check its impact factor, which is based on how many citations a journal's articles receive from articles in other established journals.  Several tools rank journals, including:


Much of the content on this page comes from Poynter's International Factchecking Network's Guide to Fact Checking and Verification for Students as well as UNM Librarian Amy Jankowski's Sustainability Libguide.  Thanks!