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What is Race? - Case Study Research: Evaluating Sources

This guide is designed for use by Mr. Brown's What is Race? Case Study project. Please use this guide for every step of your research, from start to finish. Reach out to the librarians for help at anytime!

Researching Race...


Unlike the library's databases, Google does not filter or rank its results by the accuracy of their claims. Therefore, it is important to be a vigilant fact-checker when investigating sources in your Google search results.

Lateral Searching to Evaluate Sources

When you are on a website you do not recognize, you can perform a "lateral search" by opening a new tab and searching for information about that source on Google or Wikipedia. Here are some factors to consider when investigating a source:

  • Does this source/organization have a history of publishing inaccurate information?
  • Who is the author? Do they have expertise in this area?
  • Is this organization for-profit? Non-profit? Who funds this organization?
  • Does this source have a strong bias?

What about Bias?

Bias can appear in any source (e.g. newspapers, blog posts, etc). You may detect biased language, or you may find through a lateral Google search that the website containing the source is "progressive" or "conservative."

The presence of bias DOES NOT mean the source is unusable. There may be factual and accurate claims the author is making. However, in sources containing bias, you need to do a little more lateral searching to verify the specific claims in the source you wish to use.

  • If it is a blog post, ask yourself if it contain references, a bibliography, or in-text citations that provide links to other sites and sources? Check the links to see if the author is getting their information from credible sources. Here is an example of a credible blog post that does this.
  • Fact-check specific claims made in the source. If the author claims that 1 in 10 Americans are left-handed, cross-check that claim with other, reputable sources by doing a Google search. The following websites are great fact-checker sites for social political claims:

Citation Help: