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Current Topics: An Undergraduate Research Guide : Fake News

Articles - Scholarly and Popular

Try searching these terms in the resources linked below: false news, false news and social media, accuracy in journalism, political satire, media bias, journalism and objectivity, misinformation.    

Overview Resources



Selected books covering the topics of fake news and media bias available through UW-Madison libraries. Possible subject headings include: journalism ethics and journalism--objectivity. 

About this Guide

This research guide provides information on recognizing fake news articles and websites, fact-checking, and researching fake news.

What is Fake News?

Many news outlets and journalists will exhibit some level of bias in their reporting. However, bias does not necessarily brand stories as false or untrustworthy.  It is important to learn how to tell the difference between false reporting and news stories based on facts. Below are some definitions to keep in mind when evaluating news and media sources. 

  • Fake News: Sources that intentionally fabricate information, circulate deceptive information and content, or grossly distort actual news reports. Fake news is information that has no factual basis or information that is fabricated by those who do not have the appropriate credentials to be writing news stories.   
  • Satire: Sources that use humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to comment on current events, particularly in the context of contemporary politics. 
  • Bias: A tendency that comes from a particular point of view or outlook based on personal opinions and judgment. 

Commentary on Fake News Articles

The articles and links below provide tips on how to identify fake news and emphasize the importance of confirming the accuracy of information before sharing it with others.  

How to Evaluate News Articles

Resources below offer checklists and questions to ask to help verify the legitimacy of news sources. 

Other Helpful Resources

Fact Checking Sites

Below are helpful websites that fact check news articles to ensure you are receiving and sharing accurate information. 

Fact Checking Browser Plug-ins

Below are browser plug-ins available for download to track fake news articles in real time. 

How to Read Poll Information - What to Believe?

How do we interpret election poll information, and how do we know it's accurate? As with all news sources, we should think critically about these polls to ensure inaccurate information does spread as fake news. Below are resources to help read election poll information, along with tips on how to interpret this information carefully and correctly.    

Journalism Ethics

Although many news articles may exhibit some level of bias depending on the author or source, it is important to remember that journalists should follow a code of ethics. Below are resources that discuss the ethics of journalism.