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SSI1-170: Space, Place, and Values: Lateral Reading

Evaluating Online Information: Method

Lateral reading is another method for evaluating online information.

Lateral Reading - Evaluating Sites

Lateral Reading

Instead of staying with one website or article, you might need to jump around a bit. Open multiple tabs in your browser to follow links found within the source and do supplemental searches on names, organizations or topics you find. These additional perspectives will help you to evaluate the original article and can end up saving you time.

Things to remember:

  • The top result on Google is not always the best. Take a moment to scan the results and skim the snippets beneath the links.
  • Just because a website looks professional or credible doesn't mean that it is.
  • Sometimes you can find out more about a website by leaving the site itself.
  • You can use the command-F keyboard shortcut to search within an article for a name, group, or word.
  • Right-click on a link to open in a new tab.


Want to see what others are saying about an organization? Do a Google search for the "organization name" -site:URL to retrieve information about the organization from places other than its own website. This does not exclude, however, facebook, instagram, or youtube pages the organization might also maintain.

ex. "American Rivers"

ex. "center for environmental law and policy" [In this instance, also include -yale so that you don't retrieve information about the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy.]



Wineburg, Sam and McGrew, Sarah. Lateral Reading: Reading Less and Learning More When Evaluating Digital Information (October 6, 2017). Stanford History Education Group Working Paper No. 2017-A1. Available at SSRN: