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FYE 101

Not all information is equal

  • Opinion vs peer reviewed research
  • News report vs gossip column
  • Satire vs serious discussion

Distinguish between purpose

  • Peer reviewed research vs news report
  • Propaganda vs unbiased reporting
  • Comedy news vs serious news

Determine credibility

  • Opinion by a doctor vs opinion of a layperson
  • Tweet by the White House vs Tweet by House Mouse

When was it published?

Is it an appropriate level?
Does the information relate to your topic?

Who is the creator? 
What are their qualifications on the topic?

Has it been reviewed or vetted?
Is it supported by evidence?

What is the purpose of it? Inform? Critique?
Are there biases in it?


  • Who are the creators? What are their credentials?
  • Who is the publisher? Are they reputable?


  • Is this fact or opinion?
  • Can you still use the information, even if there is bias?
  • Is the site trying to sell you something, convert you, or make you vote for someone?


  • What kind of information is included? Is it primarily opinion? A mix of fact and opinion?
  • What is the purpose? What’s the level of the information? Is it for entertainment, for a serious audience?
  • Are sources cited?


  • How recent is the information?
  • Is it current enough for your topic?
  • If the information is from a website, when was the site last updated?

A continuum with types of resources for each section. It starts with blogs and personal websites on the Very Skeptical end, moves to publications from advocacy groups, daily news, general audience books, high quality mainstream media, books by experts from non-academic publishers, and some government websites in the middle, and ends with peer reviewed journals and books by experts from academic publishers on the Much Less Skeptical end.