A) Historians with PhDs
B) Undergraduate Students
C) Professional Fact Checkers
Professional Fact Checkers
Stanford History Education Group tested the online evaluation skills of PhD historians, undergraduate students at Stanford University, and professional fact checkers.
"The fact checkers [using lateral reading] proved to be fastest and most accurate [at evaluating websites], while historians and students were easily deceived by unreliable sources" (Spector).
The truth is more likely to be found in the network of links to (and commentaries about) the site than in the site itself. Lateral readers gain a better understanding as to whether to trust the facts and analysis presented by reading "across many connected sites instead of digging deep into the site at hand" (Caufield).
Caulfield, Mike. Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers, PressBooks, 2017, webliteracy.pressbooks.com. Accessed 11 Jan. 2021.
Spector, Carrie. "Stanford Scholars Observe 'Experts' to See How They Evaluate the Credibility of Information Online." Stanford Graduate School of Education, Stanford University, 24 Oct. 2017, ed.stanford.edu/news/stanford-scholars-observe-experts-see-how-they-evaluate-credibility-information-online. Accessed 11 Jan. 2021.
Wineburg, Sam, and Sarah McGrew. "Lateral Reading: Reading Less and Learning More when Evaluating Digital Information." Stanford History Education Group Working Paper No. 2017-A1, 6 Oct. 2017. SSRN, ssrn.com/abstract=3048994. PDF download. Accessed 11 Jan. 2021.
The content on this page was adapted by permission from the work of Joanna Novick, Cox Library at Milton Academy.