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HIST: Class II US History

Source evaluation

Lateral ReadingEvaluation done quicker and with more accuracy

In a nutshell:
Evaluate a source by reading other people's opinions rather than only relying on the website information.


1. Briefly look at the source (such as an article or website)

2. Open up a few tabs in your browser

3. Do a search on:

  •  the site itself
    • For example: is reliable? Does another company own/manage the site?
  • a particular claim  - are other news sources also using this claim?
    • For example: is it true that there are more guns on the street than people in the US?
  • a particular author



  • How recent is the information?
  • Can you locate a date when the page(s) were written/created/updated?
  • Based in your topic, is it current enough?
  • Why might the date matter for your topic?


  • What kind of information is included in the resource?
  • Is the content primarily opinion?
  • Is the information balanced or biased?
  • Does the author provide citations and references for quotations data?


  • Can you determine who the author/creator is?
  • What are their credentials (education, affiliation, experience, etc.)?
  • Who is the publisher or sponsor of the site?
  • Is this publisher/sponsor reputable?

Purpose/Point of view

  • What's the intent of the website (to persuade, to sell you something, etc.)?
  • For Web resources, what is the domain (.edu, .org, .com, etc.)? How might that influence the purpose/point of view?
  • Are there ads on the website? How do they relate to the topic being covered (e.g., an ad for ammunition next to an article about firearms legislation)?
  • Is the author presenting fact, or opinion?

Sometimes called Native Advertising or Sponsored Content or Paid Postings, 

"Native ads are ads in a format that is native to the platform on which they are run, bought or sold. Native advertising is the activity of producing, buying and selling native ads." (Huffington Post, 28 Oct., 2015). 


The Atlantic

The Atlantic

The New York Times


Want to know more?: NPR's  News or Ad?