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Speech 101 (CMST-101): Evaluating Information

Information evaluation video

The following video shows you how to evaluate information. 

Identifying Fake News

Advice on how to spot fake news

Criteria for evaluating information

As you examine a source you think you may want to use, think about these questions to determine if and how that source may fit into your research. 


  • Can the factual information be easily verified? Are sources cited?
  • Are they from reputable sources?
  • Is the writing clear and well organized without typos, spelling, or grammatical errors?


  • Who is the author or sponsor of the information and why should you believe him/her/them? (What are their credentials?)
  • Is there a way to establish the legitimacy of the author or sponsor? Contact information, etc.
  • Is the source affiliated with a larger, reputable organization?

Currency ​

  • When was the piece first written or most recently updated?
  • Is the time frame appropriate for the information needed?
  • So, if you are speaking on the American Civil War women (civil war was 1861-1865), could you use a diary written by a woman in 1863? Is this a current source?


  • Is any bias evident?
  • Is there advertising or sponsorship?
  • Is the information intended to inform or to persuade?

Scope/Coverage/Relevance ​

  • What audience is the piece intended for?
  • Is the information complete?

Resources for Fact Checking

Fact-checking Web sites can help you evaluate statements and news stories. Consider the following when consulting a fact-checking Web site.

  • Is the site non-partisan?
  • Is documentation provided? Do references and original documents support analysis.
  • What's the track record? Is there a history of reliability, recognition or awards?

Following are some nonpartisan fact-checking Web sites:

Information borrowed from : Batchelor, O. (2017). Getting out the truth: The role of libraries in the fight against fake news. Reference Services Review, 45(2), 143-148.

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