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Communication Studies

Resource guide for COMS Research

Research Therapy: Evaluating Websites

Additional Fact-Checking Steps

Media Bias Chart

This chart provides visual context of where various media sources fall on the spectrum of neutral/objective reporting. It's also indicated if these sites tend to do more original/fact-based reporting. Since you've probably come across many of the sites shown in the chart, refer back to this infographic as you determine the usefulness of various news sources.

Other useful fact-checking steps:

  • Media Bias / Fact Check - Founded in 2015, Media Bias/Fact Check is an independent online media outlet and is dedicated to educating the public on bias and deceptive news practices.
  • - A project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, FactCheck is a nonpartisan, nonprofit "consumer advocate" for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. 
  • PolitiFact -  Launched in 2007 as an election-year project of the Tampa Bay Times, PolitiFact's core principles are independence, transparency, fairness, thorough reporting and clear writing. This independent site focuses on looking at specific statements made politicians and rates them for accuracy.
  • Washington Post Fact Checker -  Started prior to the 2008 presidential election (later revived as a permanent feature in January 2011), the goal of Fact Checker is to review politicians' statements on issues for accuracy. Additionally, this site strives to explain difficult issues, provide missing context and analysis, as well as further explanation/definition of various "code words" used by politicians, diplomats, and others to obscure the truth.  


Evaluating Sources with CRAAP

Currency - When was it published? For websites, when was the last revision? Does your topic require the most current information?

Relevancy - How well does it relate to your topic? Who is the intended audience? Does this satisfy your information need? 

Authority - Who is the author? What are the author's credentials or affiliations? Are they qualified to write on this topic?

Accuracy - Where does this information come from? Is the information supported by evidence? Does the author cite their sources?

Purpose - Is the purpose to inform, sell, entertain or persuade the reader? Is the information fact, opinion, or propaganda? Can you identify any bias?