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SOC101: Principles of Sociology On-Line (Avedikian): Web Resources

Searching the Web

Searching the web takes skills in evaluation and research. Use the suggested credible websites below, or conduct your own research using the evaluation tips on the right.

Searching Educational Websites

Sociology Resources on the Web

Use Fact Checkers

Fact checkers research news stories and other information found on the internet to determine their accuracy. If you're not sure whether the information you found is accurate, try searching these fact checking websites to see what they say about it:

  • FactCheck.org A nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics by monitoring the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases.
  • PolitiFact A Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking website that rates the accuracy of claims by elected officials and others who speak up in American politics.
  • Snopes.com A website that researches and determines the history and accuracy of internet rumors, urban legends, and other stories.
  • Washington Post Fact Checker A blog and newspaper column that determines the accuracy of the statements of political figures regarding important issues, and seeks to explain difficult issues, provide missing context, and provide analysis of efforts to obscure or shade the truth.

Check it Yourself

Use the P.R.O.V.E.N. Source Evaluation Process to help you determine whether the sources you find are credible and appropriate choices for your particular research purpose. The process of evaluating a source includes examining the source itself and examining other sources by:

  • Checking for previous work. Has someone already fact-checked this source?
  • Finding the original source. Who originally published the information and why?
  • Reading laterally. What do other people say about this publication and author?
  • Circling back. How can you revise your original search to yield better results?
  • Checking your own emotions. Is your own bias affecting your evaluation?*

The questions below will help you think critically during the source evaluation process:

  • Purpose: How and why the source was created. Why does this information exist, why is it in this form (book, article, website, etc.), and who is the intended audience? Is the purpose clear?
  • Relevance: The value of the source for your needs. How useful is this source in answering your question, supporting your argument, or adding to your knowledge? Is the type and content of the source appropriate for your assignment?
  • Objectivity: The reasonableness and completeness of the information. How thorough and balanced is this source? Does it present fact or opinion? How well do its creators acknowledge their point of view, represent other points of view fully, and critique them professionally?
  • Verifiability: The accuracy and truthfulness of the information. How well do the creators of this source support their information with factual evidence, identify and cite their sources, and accurately represent information from other sources?  Can you find the original source(s) of the information or verify facts in other sources? What do experts say about the topic?
  • Expertise: The authority of the authors and the source. Who created this source and what education and/or professional or personal experience makes them authorities on the topic? How was the source reviewed before publication? Do other experts cite this source or otherwise acknowledge the authority of its creators?
  • Newness: The age of the information. Does your topic require current information? How up-to-date is this source and the information within it? 

*Based on Caulfield, Mike. "Four Moves and a Habit." Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers, 2017.

P.R.O.V.E.N. Source Evaluation by Ellen Carey (6/18/18) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Tutorial

Topics in the News - New York Times

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National Public Radio (NPR) News about Race & Culture

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