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Evaluate Sources

In addition to finding sources, it's crucial we understand how to evaluate those sources. Use ABCD, CRAAP, and SIFT to evaluate different sources like academic journal articles, websites, magazines, and popular news sources.

SIFT infographic

The SIFT Method is an evaluation method refined by Mike Caulfield. This method encourages us to think critically about sources before sharing the information. Fake news is created for many reasons, but its effect is predictable-- whatever the factual, unbiased, authoritative facts are, they are drowned out by alternative narratives.

Herbert Simon (as quoted in Parrish, 2013) says,

"What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention, and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it."

What is Fake News?

Fake news is intentional misinformation via print, broadcast, or social media. The intent of fake news is to deceive its audience for financial or political gain. During the 2016 US presidential election, however, "fake news" was a term used by Donald Trump and right-wing supporters to discredit information with which they disagreed, like opinion poll percentages, regardless of factual accuracy.

What is Clickbait?

Fictional examples of clickbait advertisements
These images and headlines are examples of clickbait, from Wikipedia.

Clickbait is a provocative or attention-grabbing link online which turns out to be of spurious value or interest, often distorting or misrepresenting context or details of the linked source. 

What is Disinformation?

Disinformation is a technique of conveying false information to an adversary. Crucially, it is usually a component of a coordinated strategy to achieve specific political goals.

These headlines show an example of a disinformation campaign carried out by the KGB to influence Latin American sentiment about the United States in response to the United States and its CIA forcing regime changes in Latin America. Though not all operations have been (yet) declassified, there is overwhelming evidence that the United States and the CIA financed, carried out, or otherwise influenced several coups d'etat overthrowing democratically elected officials to "fight communism". There is no evidence, however, that anyone stole children to harvest their organs.


Propaganda is a technique of promoting ideas through persuasion rather than balanced facts. It differs from disinformation in that while it is purposeful, it may contain truth, half-truths, or fabrications. Where disinformation is almost always negative, propaganda can have positive or neutral messages.