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Research Methods in Criminal Justice (56:202:600)

Spring 2024

Evaluating News Sources

Evaluating News Sources  

Image with the the letters S I F T on it and icons for the concepts of "Stop" "Investigate the Source" "Find better coverage" and "Trace claims quotes and media to the original context"


STOP: At the beginning and at all times during the process, take the time to STOP and ask questions. What is the reputation and claim of the website or source of the information? Are you familiar with the source? If you are unsure, continue to the other steps to get an understanding of what you are looking at.  Do not read or share it until you know what you are looking at.

INVESTIGATE THE SOURCE: Know what you are reading before you read it. Take the time to understand the expertise and agenda of the source you are looking at.  Is what you are looking at worth the time and effort? Is the source significant and trustworthy? 

FIND BETTER COVERAGE: While it is often easy to find any source on a topic, your goal is to find the BEST source you can, which requires looking at multiple sources to determine expert consensus. You want to find the more trusted and in-depth coverage. If you can not confirm this on your original source, seek other coverage. 

TRACE CLAIMS, QUOTES AND MEDIA TO THE ORIGINAL CONTEXT: In these cases we’ll have you trace the claim, quote, or media back to the source, so you can see it in it’s original context and get a sense if the version you saw was accurately presented.

Also, pay attention to timeliness and motivation/purpose.

SIFT was created by Mike Caulfield and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Types of Mis- and Disinformation

It is vital to understand the types of fake news that exist in order to understand and combat them. Image of the 7 types of mis-and disinformation as described in the text belwo

7 Types of Mis-and Disinformation (First Draft)

Satire or Parody: No intention to cause harm but has potential to fool.

Misleading Content: Misleading use of information to frame an issue or individual.

Imposter Content: When genuine sources are  impersonated.

Fabricated Content: New content is 100% false, designed to deceive and do harm.

False Connection: When headlines, visuals or captions don't support the content.

False Context: When genuine content is shared with false contextual information.

Manipulated Content: When genuine information or imagery is manipulated to deceive.

Spotting Fake News


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