Evaluating Online Sources: An Introduction to "Lateral Reading"

February 27, 2020 / 12:30 pm
Campbell Computer Lab 138

Intended audience: 

All Rowan students, staff, and faculty.  Anyone conducting research involving online sources or teaching about source evaluation. 

Workshop Description: 

Critical evaluation of online sources has become a necessary and required skill in academia, as well as in everyday use of the internet.  With the explosion of fake news, pseudoscience, and deep fake videos, how can researchers determine if a source is legitimate? While in some cases it’s fairly obvious that a source is suspect, at other times this isn’t so straightforward. Recent research indicates that both university professors and college students have difficulty recognizing misleading online sources that at first glance look reputable. The close reading skills that are key to academic work differ from the evaluation strategies needed when quickly determining whether an online source is trustworthy enough to be worth a closer look.  

In this 1-hour workshop, librarians Andrea Baer and Dan Kipnis will introduce “lateral reading” strategies that involve quickly moving off of a webpage and learning more about a source from other online information. This workshop is informed by the work of Mike Caulfield and of the Stanford History Education Group. (For a quick overview of these strategies see libguides.rowan.edu/EvaluatingOnlineSources.)  

Learning outcomes: 

  1. Attendees will be introduced to lateral reading strategies for source evaluation, including SIFT and the Four Moves.
  2. Attendees will evaluate sources using SIFT and the Four Moves. 

NOTE: Interested in this workshop but can’t make it at this time? Email us at baera@rowan.edu or kipnisd@rowan.edu . We'll contact you about when to offer the workshop again.