Dukes’ Vote: Online Information Literacy


the DigiPo project at the American Democracy Project suggests these four steps and a habit for evaluating online news sources.

The Habit: Check Your Emotions

If you’re having a strong emotional reaction, whether it’s anger, frustration, or validation, take a moment and pause. At such times, your critical perspective may be diminished when you should be fact-checking. Slow down and use your moves!

Step 1: Check past work

Many provocative claims on the Internet have already been verified or investigated. Media coverage, trusted online sites, or fact-checking sites, such as Politifact or Snopes, may have a summary of the evidence readily available.

Movement 2: Go upstream to the source

Check embedded web links or do a search to find the original or find the source of information.

Movement 3: Read sideways

Not all sources are equal. If you are unsure of the quality of your source, read sideways to other trustworthy sites to find more information about the platform or author.

Move 4: back circle

Sometimes a sideways reading will suggest that a source is not accurate, is more complex than you thought, or leads to a dead end. Stop and use what you’ve learned to be more informed research.

Further reading: Mike Caulfield, Web Knowledge for Student Fact Checkers (2017)


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