Evaluating Information

How to evaluate information, from social media to scholarly articles.

Accuracy Checklist

Social media can provide "instant" news and can be a great wealth of information, but it is crucial to verify and determinethe  accuracy of this information. Here are some items to consider that can help determine authenticity:

  • Location of the poster - are they in the place they are tweeting or posting about?
  • Network - who is in their network and who follows them? Do I know this account?
  • Content - Can the information be corroborated from other sources?
  • Contextual updates - Do they usually post or tweet on this topic? If so, what did past or updated posts say? Do they fill in more details?
  • Age - What is the age of the account in question? Be wary of recently created accounts.
  • Reliability - Is the source of information reliable?

There are many articles about studies on misinformation and disinformation. Here is a good summary from the Boston Public Library (October 17, 2020), including examples and more ways that you can evaluate information.

(Note: if you need to cite a blog, tweet, or other social media post, look at the Citing Sources guide or ask your librarian.)