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News Literacy

Click Restraint

When you do a search on the internet, which search result do you usually click first? It's common to click on the first or second result. However, search engine optimization (SEO) means that search results do not appear in order of trustworthiness. A good fact checker does not automatically click on the top result.

Instead, they use click restraint, or scanning the results to choose the best one. Spending a little more time scanning the search results can help us make more informed choice about which results to click first.

Watch the video below to learn more about click restraint.

Civic Online Reasoning. (n.d.). Click Restraint Lesson Plan - Level 1. Stanford History Education Group.

Lateral Reading

When we come across online information, the first question we should ask is “Who is behind the information?” Our goal in asking this question is to decide if we trust the source to provide information on the topic at hand.

One way to evaluate the trustworthiness of an unfamiliar website or online source is lateral reading. Lateral reading is immediately leaving the unknown site and opening new tabs to search for what other trusted sources say about it.

Watch the video below to learn more about lateral reading.

Civic Online Reasoning. (n.d.). Intro to Lateral Reading - Level 1. Stanford History Education Group.

Evaluate with the "CRAAP" Test

The CRAAP Test is a helpful tool for evaluating a source's credibility and deciding whether you should include it in personal, school, or professional research. It uses five criteria in the acronym: Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose.

The CRAAP Test questions are meant to serve as a guide rather than a checklist.


  • When was it published?
  • Does your topic require current information or are older sources acceptable?


  • Does the information help answer your research question?
  • Is the information too advanced or too simple for your assignment?
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining if this is one you will use?


  • Who is the author, publisher, or organization?
  • Are they qualified to speak knowledgeably about your topic?
  • What can you learn about the author by reading laterally?


  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is the information supported by quality evidence?
  • What process did the author use to produce the information?
  • What systems are in place to catch mistakes and correct them?


  • What is the author's motivation for presenting this information?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information fact-based or an opinion?