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POL SCI 310: The American Presidency

Infographic describing the basic strategies for lateral reading

Evaluating Sources Using Lateral Reading

Learn how to evaluate sources by "reading laterally."

What is Lateral Reading?

Lateral reading is when you look outside of your source to seek additional information about a source's credibility, reputation, funding sources, and biases.

When looking at an unfamiliar source, open a new browser tab and search for information about that source.

Strategies

Learn how to read laterally by applying the strategies below to your evaluation.

  • Research the author and publisher. Open a new tab and perform a web search to see what other sources say about the reputation of your author and the publisher of the information.
  • Use Wikipedia. Wikipedia can be a great place to learn information about the publisher of your source, author, or your topic in general.
  • Check for consensus. Check other sources to see if you find significant contrasting claims. If you do, you may need to look at your source more closely.
  • Bias & Fact-Checker Sites. Take advantage of bias and fact-checker websites that may have already done an evaluation of the publisher for you or fact-checked a claim.
  • Find the original source. If your source is discussing a research study or following a story from another source, check the original source for accuracy.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International  License (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

This guide & infographic by UW-Green Bay Libraries is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Please contact refdesk@uwgb.edu with questions or comments.

Visit our Evaluating Sources guide to learn more about these techniques