Skip to main content

Fake News vs. Real News: How to Determine the Reliability of Sources

Lateral Searching

Sometimes it's hard to tell who is responsible for the content on a website.

When this is the case, the best strategy is to do a little investigation on what information you CAN find. 

For instance, if we go to the site www.asthma.com, it looks very much like an informational site about asthma. The home page has facts about asthma, tips for managing the condition, and resources for parents. It looks and feels credible, but is it?

 

Scrolling to the bottom, however, we find very little information about the authors, only that the site is "funded and developed by GSK." Clicking on "Contact Us" doesn't give us much more help either.

This is when we want to open a new tab and Google GSK (this is where Google and Wikipedia can actually be helpful).

We find out quickly that "GSK" is GlaxoSmithKline, a pharmaceutical company that manufactures asthma drugs. Taking a quick look a the Wikipedia article on GlaxoSmithKline, we also find out that while they research new drug treatments for a variety of conditions, they also have a history of criminal and civil violations in a number of countries.

So a site that looks like it is informing, is actually selling. This puts the information we find here in a much different light. 

When you need need quality, credible information, you may need to "think like a fact-checker" and do a little investigation - open a new tab, Google the author, site, or sponsor, and see what you can find.


To cite this LibGuide use the following templates:

APA: Northern Essex Community College Library. (Date updated). Title of page. Title of LibGuide. Retrieved from URL

MLA: Northern Essex Community College Library. "Title of Page." Title of LibGuide, Date updated, URL.