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RELG 280: Spirituality, Money, and Travel



"The historians and students read vertically -- staying within the original website in question to evaluate its reliability." (Spector)

Vertical readers are often duped by unreliable indicators such as:

  •  a professional-looking name and logo
  •  scholarly or reputable references
  •  a .org URL
  •  a polished "About Us" page claiming a nonprofit status



"The fact checkers read laterally -- quickly scanning the website in question but then opening a series of additional browser tabs, seeking context and perspective from other sites." (Spector)

Lateral readers exercise habits that lead to more thorough and efficient evaluation of information/sources such as:

  • search for the site/article on fact-checking sites
  • search the web for the owner or publisher of the site
  • search for pages linking to the site
  • follow references back to any original sources
  • research what other sites say about the source