How we interpret information can affect how we think, how we vote and how we view others. It can be difficult to distinguish between verifiable and false information. Considering there is so much information available online, research skills are an important component of digital literacy. Research skills will not only assist students with their studies, it will help them to critically evaluate information so they can stop the spread of false information and remain properly educated about current events. Below are some considerations that should help.
1. Source the information
Rather than relying on popular search engines, consider other sources of information:
- Books, newspapers, magazines
- Radio, Podcasts, YouTube Channels
- Online Museum resources e.g. Smithsonian Institute, National Library of Ireland
- Online library resources: join your local library and gain access to Newspapers, Magazines, Encyclopedias and lots more
2. Evaluate the Information
- What is the main purpose: To inform? To Sell? To Persuade? To Provoke? To Document? To Entertain?
- Who said it? Check the about us/contact us to find who the author is
- What’s the evidence? Does the author have the expertise? Have they shown where they got their information from?
- What are others saying? Press ctrl and T to open a new type and compare to at least 3 other sources.
3. Misinformation vs Disinformation
Misinformation is false information that is spread, regardless of whether there is intent to mislead
Disinformation is deliberately misleading or biased information; manipulated narrative or facts; propaganda
4. If in doubt, do a fact check
Fact Check: factcheck.org/
BBC Reality Check: bbc.com/news/reality-check
Channel 4 Fact Check: channel4.com/news/factcheck
Journal.ie Fact Check: thejournal.ie/factchecknews/