Spotting Fake News Using Your Citation Skills

fake-1903823_640.jpgBack in December I shared a post on How to Spot Fake News, citing an article from Common Sense Media as a good read for this topic. The timing of this was a handy coincidence as I was in the process of teaching my 5th graders about plagiarism and finding trustworthy sources. Fast-forward to February, a new semester, and a new group of 6th graders to teach. As I get ready to teach my lesson on Copyright, Creative Commons and Citations, yet another article has surfaced connecting the process of citing the source with being able to spot fake news.

In an article from EasyBib on 10 Ways to Spot a Fake News Article, author Michele Kirschenbaum entertains the idea that the credibility of a news article can be determined in part by the ease with which we can build a proper citation for it. The success or failure to answer the questions that Kirschenbaum lists can give us an idea of how trustworthy the source may be. For example, if the article includes citations and references to where it got its facts from then that’s a good sign. However, if you have to hunt to identify who the author of the article is then this could be a red flag.

Constructing a proper citation from online sources is not always easy, even when you employ citation tools such as EasyBib, Citation Machine, or the Explore Tool inside of Google Docs. However, if a source is proving to be particularly difficult to cite then that might be a sign that its credibility should be questioned and that more scrutiny of the source be undertaken before you incorporate any of its information into your own research.

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