One of the hardest parts of reading critically is sorting credible from non-credible sources. Your faculty should work with you about how to evaluate sources in your course. Most people perform poorly when evaluating the credibility of sources on the internet. Research ⤵️ has show two practices can dramatically improve your ability to access credible information.

  1. Read laterally: most people read a source careful when evaluating it. For paper sources this made more sense, but with the web, you need to find out what others are writing about your source. So, open up additional tabs (Control + T on Windows or Command + T on Mac) and find what others have written about your source. This process is described in more detail in "Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers," below).
  2. Get off the open web: As a college student, you have access to professional databases that hold the total of all that humans know about our world. These databases are in your college library and they contain articles that have been fact-checked by multiple experts. Doing a general search — "google that" — can only get your general information. The open web is structured based on popularity on what makes money. Accurate information can be found there, but you can not guarantee it. Library resources such as digital journals and databases provide you with credible information that can earn you full points on your assignments.

💡For more information about how to find credible sources, see Check, Please!, a five lesson introduction to digital literacy.

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Writing to inform, to advance a thesis, to learn.