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FFL100 - Pothier-Hill

Evaluating Sources

APPLY Your Critical Thinking Skills

A – authority: Who is the author or creator? What are their credentials or experience in this area? Have they written other articles or books? Does the author/creator have an agenda beyond education or information?​


P- purpose/point of view: Is this source complete and accurate or does it leave out or misrepresent information? Are diverse perspectives represented? What evidence is presented of conclusions? Who is the intended audience?  Is the content relevant to your information needs? ​


P- publisher: Does the publisher have an agenda? Is the publisher scholarly? Commercial? Nonprofit? Government? Educational?​


L – list of resources: Does the source have a reference list or refer to other sources? How else can you verify the information in this source? ​


Y- year of publication: Is this source current and relevant? Can you find more current or relevant information? Is the cited information current or based on outdated research or statistics? ​Is this information routinely updated?

News Reporting

News reporting today has changed due to a variety of factors. Technology is probably the largest force driving news reporting today. It impacts how we access news, how much news we can access, how we interact with news, and how we spread news. News today is transmitted at such a rapid speed and vast volume that it is difficult for us to fact check it all. 

Where we decide to get our news involves a variety of factors which also influences what news we choose to believe. Some of the news sources listed below are biased, inaccurate, or false, and some of the sources are accurate and credible Examine the news closely to determine its validity. Don't rely on whether you agree with it or not. That is not a measure of accuracy. Use some of the tools in this Libguide to help you evaluate the news.

History of the News

Delivering the News

inverted news pyramid

Fact vs Opinion

Identifying Bias

bias in news sources

Deciding what to believe in today's complex information landscape takes critical thinking, soul-searching, and unbiased fact-checking. Consider asking yourself whether you believe that a news source is accurate because:

  • you agree with it
  • it agrees with what you've seen in other sources
  • it looks and sounds like a professional new piece
  • it's from a source you're familiar with

In fact, none of these are criteria for evaluation. Critical thinking requires stepping outside your comfort zone and asking yourself "how do I know what I know?" It also requires asking the same of the sources you choose to use. Where does your information come from?