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How to do Research (and find what you need for your assignment!)

Basic information on how to get started on your assignment!

Review your sources

 

Before you use a website, news story, or other piece of information for an assignment, ask yourself:

  • What's the reputation of your source? Try to Google the source, or see if there is an "about" link on their page. Is the source well-known? Google the author, if there is one. Does the author of the source have credentials or an education that matches the topic, 
  • Are there other news outlets telling the same story? Again, do some sleuthing on the story and see if other sites are telling the same story. Do these other sources give the same information?
  • When was the story published? Be sure to check the date of the source. It might contain information that's out of date! 
  • Is the story outrageous? The story may be from a parody/humor site or may be written to provoke the reader. Take a look at the other stories on the website. Do they seem as outrageous or sensational as yours?

Also, Consider...

  • When you open up a news article in your browser, open a second, empty tab.  Use that second window to look up claims, author credentials, and organizations that you come across in the article.
  • Fake news spans across all kinds of media - printed and online articles, podcasts, YouTube videos, radio shows, even still images. Be prepared to double-check everything.
  • Beware of confirmation bias.  Just because you might agree with what an article is saying doesn't mean it's true. Check these sources also!
  • Even the best researchers will be fooled once in a while.  If you find yourself fooled by a fake news story, use your experience as a learning tool.