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Resources for High School Students

This guide is for high school students interested in using University Library resources to conduct research.

Evaluating Sources

In this video you will learn: How to determine if a website is a good source for your assignment.

How To Read Laterally

Reading Laterally

Infographic source: Joanna Novick, Milton Academy

Reading Laterally: Checking Online Sources Quicker and with More Accuracy

What is reading laterally? Evaluate a source by reading about it on other, trustworthy sites.

  1. Open a few new tabs in your browser to search outside of the website itself.
  2. Start by searching the name of the website. Use fact checking sites like Politifact or Snopes
  3. Return to the website and scan for additional information, such as a publisher or author name.

How is your source viewed by others? Combining the information from your various searches should give you a good idea of how this website is viewed and, therefore, whether it is reliable.

The point is to look outside of the website, do not rely on how the website describes itself (such as “about us” page).

Fact Checking Sites

Fact-checking websites can help you investigate claims to help you determine whether what you hear or read is true. These resources can help you determine the legitimacy of a claim, but even fact-checking websites should be examined critically. 

  • PolitiFact
  • The Poynter Institute / Fact-Checking Resources
  • Washington Post Fact Checker
  • LinkedIn

How To Use Wikipedia Wisely

Fact-Check like a Pro!

Sick and tired of seeing misinformation? Never know who or what to trust? Can't figure out if what you've heard is true? Feel Duped? Want better tools to sort truth from fiction? Here's a quick guide to sorting out facts, weighing information and being knowledgeable online and off

Check Credentials - Is the author specialized in the field that the article is concerned with? Does s/he currently work in that field? Check LinkedIn or do a quick Google search to see if the author can speak about he subject with authority and accuracy.

Read the “About Us” section. Does the resource have one? It may be on a tab at the top of the page, or a link at the bottom of the page, but all reputable websites will have some type of About Us section and will provide a  way for you to contact them.

Read beyond the “About Us” section. Search the organization to see what others have to say about them. 

Look for Bias - does the article seem to lean toward a particular point of view? Does it link to sites, files, or images that seem to skew left or right? Biased articles may not be giving you the whole story.

Check the Dates - Like eggs and milk, information can have an expiration date. In many cases, use the most up-to-date information you can find.

Check out the Source - When an article cites sources, it's good to check them out. Sometimes, official-sounding associations are really biased think tanks or represent only a fringe view of a large group of people. If you can't find sources, read as much about the topic as you can to get a feel for what's already out there and decide for your self if the article is accurate or not.

Use the CRAAP Test - Currency, Relevance, Accuracy, Authority and Purpose.

Interrogate urls - We see quite a bit of domain manipulation these days. For instance, what looks like an .edu domain, followed by .co or “lo” is likely a fake or deceptive site.  If you are you seeing a slightly variant version of a well-known URL, do a little investigating.

Who owns the website posting the information? - You can find out at either or at Both of these websites allow you to perform a WHOIS search. Whenever someone registers a website address, they are required to enter their contact information. When you get to your WHOIS search, enter in the domain (the first part of the website URL). This step can be used to collect all the information when you question a source, or the informations purpose.

Suspect the sensational - When you see something posted that looks sensational, it is even more important to be skeptical. Exaggerated and provocative headlines with excessive use of capital letters or emotional language are serious red flags.

Judge Hard - If what you're reading seems too good to be true, or too weird, or too reactionary, it probably is.

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