ENGL 417 - Written Communication for the Workplace

Google!

The internet is awesome!  You can find a lot of stuff there (not everything) and sometimes it can be really difficult to actually find what you need as researchers.  Below are some explanations of a few super simple ways you can do advanced searches in Google:

A) You can force Google to only give you results for the type of websites you want.  Website domains like .gov, .edu, and .org are just a few examples, but you can use others (including designations for foreign countries). 

B) You can use symbols like * to shorten words in your search and bring back results for words with similar roots.  For examples searching for teach* will return results for "teach," "teaching" and "teacher."

C) Normally when you search in Google it looks for every word individually, which can result in a lot of irrelevant results.  If you are searching for specific phrases, you can use quotations to force Google to search for those words together.

Reputations, Fact Checking, Biases, and Political Perspectives

News Sources by Political Perspective

Liberal? Conservative? This  guide by Vera Lux at Bowling Green State University provides insight into some major news outlets.  

Author Credentials

  • Check a news publication's website (usually under About Us or Contact Us) for information about their reporters/authors. USAToday has a Reporter List. The LA Times has their Editorial and NewsRoom Contacts.
  • Search for other articles by the author: Do many of their articles seem to favor a particular point of view?

Biases

Is an organization mentioned in relation to an article? Think tanks, associations, and other organizations usually exist for a reason. Learn more about the organization to identify potential biases by:

  • Going to the organization's website and looking for information about their Mission
  • Searching for news articles about the organizations that indicate their political leaning.

Are all biases bad? NO. But being aware of them helps contextualize the information presented.

Fact Checking

Curious about the facts presented? Are the numbers accurate? Was someone quoted correctly? There are a few things you can do:

  • Look for the source of facts yourself. A good author will give you some indication of where they found the information. For example, if an article references a recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report, go to the CBO's site to locate the report.
  • LexisNexis Academic has a section under News for TV & Radio Transcripts. You may be able to find the transcript of an interview, or the text of a public statement here.
  • Politifact--focusing on political statements, researchers at the Tampa Bay Time fact check speeches, ads, and more. Politifact references their sources, making it relatively easy for readers to retrace their steps.
  • FactCheck.org -- also focusing on political statements, this project from the Annenberg Public Policy cetner fact checks speeches, ads, and more. FactCheck.org references their sources, making it relatively easy for readers to retrace their steps.