This chapter began with the simplest information evaluation tools and progressed to more complex approaches. Readers should choose the tool or approach that works best for them or their information need and searchers must always remember to keep their emotions in check in the online environment. A Google search is a fast and easy way to see if a news story or meme has been debunked. RADAR can be used to quickly evaluate the quality of a website and start the critical thinking process. Lateral reading is a good tool for checking the accuracy of claims within a source. The journalistic approach should be used for controversial or complex topics, such as climate change, where a thorough analysis is needed. This approach works for topics that may not have a clear answer. The two most important things to remember are:
- Stop or pause. Give yourself time to think about the information.
- Bring skepticism to information and ask questions about it.
These two things are crucial aspects of critical thinking which is the number one skill needed to evaluate information and avoid disinformation (creating it, sharing it, becoming a victim of it). Remember, most people who share false information don’t do it on purpose, they simply aren’t asking the right questions. By reading this book, you’ve just taken an important step on the path towards real change, now please go out and share it (but wait, did you read the whole thing? 😉