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Psychology: Evaluating Information

Stop Calling It Fake News

It's not just fake news. Information is more nuanced than that.  Here's what you need to know:

  • Mis-information is when false information is shared, but no harm is meant.
  • Dis-information is when false information is knowingly shared to cause harm.
  • Mal-information is when genuine information is shared to cause harm, often by moving information designed to stay private into the public sphere.

7 Types of Mis- and Disinformation

Mis- and disinformation graphic from Information Disorder.


Read the podcast transcript and the full report below:

Fake News Checklist

Critical Thinking

Cheatsheet for Critical Thinking


Journal Impact Factors

Impact Factors are used to measure the importance of a journal by calculating the number of times selected articles are cited within the last few years.  The higher the impact factor, the more highly ranked the journal.  It is one tool you can use to compare journals in a subject category.


NOTE: Impact Factors are useful, but they should not be the only consideration when judging quality.  Not all journals are tracked in the JCR database and, as a result, do not have impact factors.  New journals must wait until they have a record of citations before even being considered for inclusion.  The scientific worth of an individual article has nothing to do with the impact factor of a journal.


Sample from Journal Citation Reports Database

* You can select Current Year or All Years


Evaluating Criteria

Evaluate any source you find by looking at these 5 areas

and asking these questions.

Evaluation Criteria

Ways to Identify a Scholarly Source

• Use a database
Databases have tools that can help you narrow results to scholarly and/or peer review
• Google the source/publication title
–Journal information
–About this journal
If you Google the source/publication title and go to their webpage, look for Journal Information or About This Journal and it will tell you if it is scholarly, and/or peer-reviewed.

Ulrich's is a database that has information on every published journal.  To check a publication title, search for its title and look for the icon above.  That signifies it is Refereed AKA peer reviewed.



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