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A Fact Checker's Guide to the Internet: 3 Habits of Awesome Researchers: Problem

This guide will support you and educate you in the tools of Internet research with an eye towards the truth. Invest your time into stories, info, and facts that are true and valid and prevent you from being fooled.

This information is for:

  • YOU!
  • Students/faculty
  • Anyone that uses the Internet as a source of information 
What? This guide contains an easy set of steps and a tool kit for verifying online sources. Each skill section contains a video and supporting materials to master that skill. There are no checklists or acronyms. Just authentic skills for real people. This is based on research that comes out of Stanford University (see below).
  • When you want facts and only facts
  • When you're writing anything
  • When you want to fact check a viral story

(After a while, you'll do it all the time, FYI.)

  • Anywhere you have an internet connection and access the Internet on any device
Why? So you can invest your time on stories, information, and facts that are true and valid, and prevent you from being fooled. The Internet contains information from myriad sources. Many are credible and contain information that has already been verified by the author/editor of the source/organization. On the other hand, there are many websites specifically produced to spread false information containing unverified, therefore not credible information. Some of those fake sites look quite legit, and this guide will help you discern fact from fiction.  
  • By thinking critically, reading laterally, and using the skills contained in this guide, you'll be on your way to smarter searching.


Keep This in Mind...

There are certain documents that you don't have to verify. Books and some magazines have already been vetted. Journal articles you find on a database also do not have to be verified. They have already been verified by an editor and peers in the field. You must become a fact checker when dealing with the Internet.

Research Behind this Guide

Citation in MLA-8

Wineburg, Sam, and Sarah McGrew. Lateral Reading: Reading Less and Learning More When Evaluating Digital Information. Stanford University, 2017, pp. 1–56.


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