Trying to figure out if something you see on the Internet is quality or not? Try:
The SIFT Method
For more information about the SIFT method you can read the free, short ebook: Web Literacy for Student Fact Checkers by Mike Caulfield (Washington State University).
The CRAAP test is a basic set of evaluation criteria and questions that you can apply to any source that you find. CRAAP is an acronym for Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose.
Currency: the timeliness of the information.
Relevance: the importance of the information for your needs.
Authority: the source of the information.
Accuracy: the reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content.
Purpose: the reason the information exists.
In a time when elected public officials brazenly lie and foment rhetoric about fake news, it is more important than ever before to be able to discern truth from fiction. Amanda Taub of the New York Times writes that "the fake-news phenomenon is not the result of personal failings. And it is not limited to one end of the political spectrum. Rather, Americans’ deep bias against the political party they oppose is so strong that it acts as a kind of partisan prism for facts, refracting a different reality to Republicans than to Democrats. Partisan refraction has fueled the rise of fake news, according to researchers who study the phenomenon. But the repercussions go far beyond stories shared on Facebook and Reddit, affecting Americans’ faith in government — and the government’s ability to function." Once you are aware of the problem and know what to look for, you are no longer a part of the problem — you can be part of the solution toward building a more equitable, truth-based society.
Below are some resources that can help you sort through bias that you might find in the news as well as some sources that are generally considered to be politically neutral and factually accurate:
With social media like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc. where you can curate the information you see, it's easy to get yourself in a media filter bubble and only see information that only reinforces your established worldview.
Companies like Google also have sophisticated algorithms to give you search results tailored to what they think you want (and because their business model is based on advertising revenue and monetizing certain keywords): if you run the same search while logged in to a Google account, while logged out, on a campus computer, on your personal computer, or on someone else's computer while they are logged in or not, etc. you may find yourself getting different results. It can still be an excellent resource (especially since you won't always have access to college/university resources and are likely to rely on web tools like this in the future for your research needs), but it's worth being aware of this. You might also use the Google Advanced Search which can add a number of useful tricks to your searches!