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Research Tips

As you navigate through the research process, remember to be diligent in making sure your sources are credible and have an awareness of where you are getting your information. Information on this page includes the SIFT test, Fact Checking sites, Misinformation, Lateral Reading and using Wikipedia. is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. It is a nonpartisan, nonprofit consumer advocate group that seeks to verify claims made in the media.

PolitiFact is an independent fact-checking website created by the Tampa Bay Times newspaper to sort out the truth in American politics. is a well-known resource for validating and debunking such stories in American popular culture, founded was created by Barbara and David Mikkelson, a California couple who met in the alt.folklore.urban newsgroup.


Stop! Do NOT read the source you found, instead:

Find the original source. If the source you found seems to be quoting from another article or other source, find the original source of information to confirm facts and investigate the original source.

Investigate the source. Use Google and/or Wikipedia to find out more about the source of information. If Wikipedia doesn't have enough information, look at the linked sources at the bottom of the article

Look for Trusted sources. Build a library in your mind of sources you have found to be trustworthy. When you see a claim online, you can Google the claim and add the name of one of your trusted sources to see if they have covered the same story.

Carr, Ashley. "SIFT to Find Quality Sources Online: Home." Home -   SIFT to Find Quality Sources Online - LibGuides at Austin Community College, Austin Community College, 21 Aug. 2020, 

For more information on the SIFT method, head to Mike Caulfield's site. 

Use this search feature to determine if an image is authentic, locate the original source, or see how many times/ways in which people are using the source. Click on the picture icon and upload your photo. 

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Misinterpreted Satire

Satire is a piece of information that uses humor or exaggeration to critique a person, organization, or a policy. This becomes an issue when people mistake satire for credible news.

Manipulated Content

Misinformation in which something is altered from the original, such as images that have content added or removed with photo editing tools. 

Imposter Content

Misinformation that falsely uses a well-known name, brand, or logo to fool people into believing that is authentic content. 

False Context

Misinformation that takes a quote, image, or other pieces of content and puts it into a new, false context to change it's meaning.

Fabricated Content

Misinformation that is entirely made up and is designed to deceive you into thinking it's real.

Information retrieved from: Mattson, Kristen. "Information Literacy in Today's World: A Pandemic, Fake News, and Elections." Follett Community, PDF ed., 14 Apr. 2020.


What is it?

It's the act of verifying what you are reading AS you are reading it, usually by opening new tabs (working laterally) and searching for related data. 

Check for previous work

Look to see if someone did the work already and verified the information or claim. Good places to start with are fact-checking websites.

Where did it come from?

Most content now days is not original. Search for the original content to understand the trustworthiness of the information. 

Read Laterally

This is different than searching laterally. Once you get to the source of the information, read what others say about the source. 

Retrieved from: Heick, Terry. "The Difference Between Lateral Reading And Vertical Reading." TeachThought, 15 Aug. 2020,

"Check Yourself with Lateral Reading: Crash Course

Navigating Digital Information #3"


Use Wikipedia as a starting point for research.

Use Wikipedia to gather search terms or keywords for your initial research.

Use Wikipedia's external links found at the bottom of the article to access sites that (most likely) can be cited in your research.

Use Wikipedia and search for "featured articles" that are reviewed for accuracy, neutrality, completeness, and style. Less than .01% of articles qualify. Look for a bronze star on the top right corner to indicate an article is featured.

Use Wikipedia and search for a "good article". These are reviewed using similar criteria as a "featured article" but do not fully qualify. Look for a small plus sign inside a circle to indicate an article is good.

Use Wikipedia when looking for a research topic. The broad range of articles can connect you to a wide variety of information on the subject.


 "Using Wikipedia: Crash Course Navigating

Digital Information #5"

Retrieved from "Wikipedia - Research & Contributing: Using Wikipedia for Research." Library An Leabharlann, National University of Ireland, Galway, 24 Jan. 2020,

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