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Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies

Reputations, Fact Checking, Biases, and Political Perspectives

News Sources by Political Perspective

Liberal? Conservative? This guide by Valparaiso University provides different sources to examine bias major news outlets; additionally, this guide from Bowling Green State University is also quite helpful.

 

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.

  • Go to the organization's website and look for information about their Mission (sometimes this is under About Us).
  • Search for news articles about the organizations. If a lot of articles say that they are "left leaning" or "conservative" or that their Director speaks frequently about worker's rights, you've learned about potential biases.

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

 

Retractions, Corrections, Counter Arguments, and Differences of Opinions

After publication, an article can be corrected or even retracted (although this is rare). There isn't a widely accepted system to communicate these to readers. Sometimes the best way to find this information is on the publication's website, rather than in a library database. You may also find dissenting opinions or corrections in response articles, letters to the editors, or opinion columns.  These are some things to look for:

  • The publication's official policy on corrections or retractions. For instance, a Google search for "corrected washington post article" retrieved the Post's Corrections and Clarifications guidelines. As an example of how it may appear online, see this graphic about a light bulb. The New York Times has a Corrections
  • In the citation information for an article in LexisNexis, there may be a statement like "Correction Appended" included like this: Spring Break Gets Tamer With World Watching Online The New York Times, March 16, 2012 Friday Correction Appended, Section A; Column 0; National Desk; Pg. 10, 966 words, By LIZETTE ALVAREZ LIZETTE ALVAREZ. The reason for the correction will appear at the end of the article.
  • Letters to the Editor regarding an article are frequently within a few days. These can provide alternative perspectives or clarifications. Alternatively, many publications permit comments to an article when posted online.
  • Even peer-reviewed, scholarly research can be refuted or retracted. The blog, Retraction Watch attempts to keep readers updated on the latest retractions in scholarly articles. 

Current News and Information

Searching for reliable political or news information can be frustrating, especially when deciding which source to use (and believe!). The Libraries do have some databases that can also help along with your search - I would recommend using these databases to search for information about current news and information.

Tips for finding useful websites

The Internet is an uncontrolled, unorganized mish-mash of excellent scholarship and incoherent musings. Fortunately there are some simple ways to focus in on the good stuff!  Below are some strategies to try in Google:

  1. Limit your search to educational OR government sites. To do this, add the following to your search: site:edu OR site:gov.  For example, political news site:edu OR site:gov
  2. If you get too many results, specify that some words must appear in the title of the document. Do this by adding intitle: in front of the term. For example, intitle:political views. You can combine this approach witht the other strategies mentioned here, e.g., intitle:political views site:edu OR site:gov
  3. Powerpoints can provide useful overviews of a topic. To search Google for Powerpoints, add filetype:ppt to a search. You can combine this with other strategies mentioned here. E.g., candidate platforms site:edu OR site:gov filetype:ppt
  4. Use quotation marks to search for phrases, e.g., "political views"
  5. If you find a useful page, you can find pages that link to in by typing link: in front of the url.