Most research methods instructors hope their course will teach students to be better consumers of information. They want to not only help students read empirical journals; they also want to help students become critical thinkers about anything they encounter in the "real world" of the Internet.
Maybe you'd like to start next semester with a few outside readings on spotting fake news. If so, here are some resources you . might use. I got these from Morton Ann Gernsbacher's wonderful online, open-access methods course, which focuses on identifying and critically reading online news. Check it out for other wonderful resources.
- The International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) has a tip list for spotting fake news-- featured in the image above.
- Facebook prepared a list of ideas for spotting fake news.
- WNYC's On the Media customizes their "Breaking News Consumers Handbook" for most major news stories. Here's one for fake news in general.
- And here's a column in Psychology Today about a study that tested how we might inoculate people against fake news about climate science, by exposing them to a small amount of fake news in controlled conditions. The original empirical article is open-access, too. (With six experimental conditions, it's probably not a good study for students to start the semester with)
- Here's another source from Cal State Chico: The CRAAP test to help evaluate new information.
Students can respond to these readings by answering questions such as:
a) Are any of the tips for spotting fake news on all three of the lists?
b) What are three new ideas that you learned from these sources? What are three ideas they suggested here, which you already do?
c) If a friend shared a story that you suspect is fake news, what might you say to the friend to discourage him or her?
d) How might our political values make us more or less susceptible to thinking critically about fake news stories?