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HLI 380: Latin American Literature: Motorcyclists, Writers and Revolutionaries

Fact Check What You Read

When trying to decide if the document (article, website, video, etc.) you're looking at can be trusted to give you correct information, act like a fact checker.

Fact checkers work in journalism to correct errors in nonfiction writing. They are usually hard at work behind the scenes in mainstream media, particularly newspapers and magazines, investigating the work of journalists to make sure an article accurately reflects the facts before it is published. In recent years, online fact-checking organizations have popped up to counter the spread of misinformation facilitated by the internet. 

When you are reading a document and want to make sure it's credible, do as a fact checker does and read laterally. This means to open a new tab and do a search for the publisher/website, the author, the facts of the story. How is the issue described elsewhere? What kind of reputation does the publisher or website have? What else has the author written or created?

More About Fact-Checking and Lateral Reading

The value of lateral reading in debunking false claims is discussed in this article:

Wineburg, S. & McGrew, S. (2017, October 6). Lateral reading: Reading less and learning more when evaluating digital information. Stanford History Education Group Working Paper No. 2017-A1.

The Duke University Reporters' Lab tracks fact-checking organizations across the world and collects news about fact-checking.

Think Critically


Evaluating What You Read: How to Spot Fake News

File:How to Spot Fake News.jpg

How to Spot Fake News infographic by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), 2017

News Literacy: Can You Trust the Source?

Journalists use sources to inform their reporting. When you read a news article, see if you can identify the sources using the following criteria in the IMVAIN list:


Is the source independent?

"Independent sources are preferable to self-interested sources."


How many sources are there?

"Multiple sources are preferable to a report based on a single source."


Is the source providing verifiable information?

"Sources who Verify are preferable to those who merely assert."

Authoritative and/or Informed?

Is the source authoritative and/or informed?

"Authoritative and/or Informed sources are preferable to sources who are uninformed or lack authoritative background."


Is the source named or anonymous?

"Named sources are better than anonymous ones."

Adapted and quoted from:

Digital Resource Center. (2017). Source evaluation. Center for News Literacy. Retrieved from

Another Way to Think About It: The C.R.A.P. Test


  • When was it published?
  • Is the information accurate for when it was written?
  • How current is it?
  • Does the author keep it updated?


  • Does the author provide references to back up their arguments?
  • Does the source provide valuable, relevant information?
  • Has the author looked at the material objectively?


  • Who created this source?
  • Does the author represent an organization?
  • What are the author's credentials?


  • Is this fact or opinion?
  • Is the author trying to sell something?
  • What point-of-view is being expressed?
  • Is the purpose to inform, to entertain, to teach, or to influence?
  • Who is the author writing for? 
  • Is it biased in any way?
  • Are there advertisements?