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Science vs. Pseudoscience: Debunking Fake Science News and Developing Scientific Literacy: Avoiding Pseudoscience

This guide provides information about pseudoscience, as well as about the scientific research and publication process, reliable sources of scientific news, and tools for evaluating scientific information

Learn to Recognize Pseudoscience

Your Science Toolkit: Evaluating Scientific Messages: Where does the information come from? Are the views of the scientific community accurately portrayed? Is the scientific community's confidence in the ideas accurately portrayed? Is a controversy misrepresented or blown out of proportion? Where can I get more information? How strong is the evidence?Learning to recognize pseudoscience begins with taking "a scientific approach to life." The Science Toolkit section from UC Berkeley's Understanding Science 101 covers how to recognize and critique media messages related to science.

Find more tips in the video and articles below, and on the "Evaluating Sources" page of this guide.

Learn Which Science-Related Websites Are Fake or Biased

Several scholars and journalists have compiled lists of fake news sites, including those that share pseudoscience. Here are some of the best:

  • Media Bias/Fact Check (MBFC News) "Dedicated to educating the public on media bias and deceptive news practice," MBFC categorizes dozens of news sources based on their bias. The website also includes lists of reliable sources of scientific information, unreliable pseudoscience sources, and satirical sources.
  • False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and/or Satirical "News" Sources A comprehensive list of unreliable "news" sources, created by Professor Melissa Zimdars. See Zimdars's original document for "Tips For Analyzing News Sources," and read the Chronicle of Higher Education interview with her for more information about the project, and the response to it.

Learn to Evaluate All Sources

See the Evaluating Sources tab for more evaluation strategies.

Infographic from IFLA on How To Spot Fake News: Consider the Source (Click away from the story to investigate the site, its mission and its contact info). Read Beyond (Headlines can be outrageous in an effort to get clicks. What's the whole story?). Check the Author (Do a quick search on the author. Are they credible? Are they real?). Supporting Sources? (Click on those links. Determine if the info given actually supports the story.). Check the Date (Reposting old news stories doesn't mean they're relevant to current events.). Is It a Joke? (If it's too outlandish, it might be satire. Research the site and author to be sure.). Check Your Biases (Consider if your own beliefs could affect your judgement.). Ask the Experts (Ask a librarian, or consult a fact-checking site.).

Learn to Avoid and Debunk Pseudoscience

The following video tutorial covers how to identify and analyze different types of misinformation, and provides some strategies for evaluating news sources and finding more reliable information on the internet (from off campus you will need to log in using your Pipeline username and password):