LEAD 6322 Critical Thinking and Problem Analysis for Leader

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How to Spot Fake News


IFLA How to Spot Fake News


To download a pdf of this graphic, please click here. 


A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.- Winston Churchhill.


This page has resources designed to help you critically evaluate your resources and be on the lookout for fake news. Every information consumer has the responsibility to be critical of sources, check the facts and use information ethically.


Scholarly and Non-Scholarly Sources


This quick video from UCLA Libraries walks you through some of the major differences between scholarly and popular sources. 





Scholarly Sources



Popular Sources


Scholarly and Popular Sources



Share results of research with other scholars

Broad appeal


Sell products



Academic faculty


General public


Scholars and researchers

Experts in the field


Featured writers


Scholarly Publishers

Professional Associations

University Presses

Commercial publishers

Media organizations



Basic layout

Usually black text on white paper

Tables or charts

Colored text or headlines

Eye-catching layouts

Usually has accompanying photographs


Article Acceptance

Peer-reviewed by experts in the field

Writers usually employed by the media organization or freelance writers

Article Length

Often lengthy (approximately 10-30 pages) 

Often short (approximately 1-10 pages)

Article Language


Specialized vocabulary or jargon of the discipline 


Conversational/simple vocabulary 

Organization & References


Include abstracts, review of the literature, methodology, and citations to sources

Always contains a bibliography of references 


Rarely have bibliographies

Sometimes informally mention sources 


American Journal of Political Science

Policy Studies Review

Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report



From Cornell College's "A Guide to Evaluating Resources"

Fact Checking Sites

Applying the CRAAP Test


The CRAAP Test is a checklist of questions you can use to help you evaluate any sources you come across. Depending on your information need, different criteria will be more or less important. 


Evaluation Criteria



Currency: The timeliness of the information.


When was the information published or posted? 


Has the information been revised or updated?


Does your topic require current information, or will older sources work as well?


Are the links functional?



Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs.


Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?


Who is the intended audience?


Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)?


Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is the one you will use?


Would you be comfortable citing this source in your research paper?



Authority: The source of the information.


Who is the author / publisher / source / sponsor?


What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations?

Is the author qualified to write on the topic?

Is there contact information, such as a publisher or email address?

Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source (examples: .com .edu .gov .org .net)?



Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content.

Where does the information come from?

Is the information supported by evidence?

Has the information been reviewed or refereed?

Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?

Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?

Are there spelling, grammar or typographical errors?


Purpose: The reason the information exists.

What is the purpose of the information? Is it to inform, teach, sell, entertain or persuade?

Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?

Is the information fact, opinion or propaganda?

Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?

Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional or personal biases?


The CRAAP Test was originally developed at California State University at Chico. Here's a link to their guide.