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Fake News vs. Real News: Evaluating News

How to Determine the Reliability of Sources

Watch for Red Flags!

Scan your online resources for easy-to-spot red flags.


​  Website does not look professionally designed

​  Lack of citations or links to verifiable information

  No author/organization is listed, either on the main page or in an 'About Us' section

  The page's purpose is to sell something 

  There is a lot of advertising on the page

  The publisher is promoting a specific point of view

Evaluate Your Sources



With resources like Google at our fingertips, information isn't hard to find. What is challenging is determining whether that information is credible and can be trusted. Is it factual? Biased? Relevant to your topic?

A Google search is often our first stop to gain a basic understanding of the main ideas about a topic, but since anyone with access to a computer can publish anything online, it is crucial that you evaluate the information you find, especially when completing a research paper, or looking for important information (like health or financial information).

Web sources can be particularly hard to evaluate, so we've developed this handy acronym to help you determine if a source may be CRAP.



  • CURRENCY How recently was this information published/posted? Can you find a publication date?
  • RELIABILITYIs the information supported by evidence? Can it be confirmed by other sources?
  • AUTHORITYWho wrote the information - are they an expert or knowledgeable in their field? (i.e. For health information, did a doctor or nurse write it? For science information, did a scientist or researcher write it?)
  • PURPOSE / POINT OF VIEWWhy was it written? To sell something? To sway opinion? Is it biased toward a particular point of view?

News Site Bias