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Research Toolkit: Lateral Reading

Lateral Reading is a strategy for evaluating sources. Rather than reading a page or source from top-to-bottom (vertically), lateral readers move horizontally in a web browser and investigate additional sources to verify information. When reading a source on the web, open new browser tabs and search for information on the original source to learn more about the author and publisher. Ask yourself "Who is behind the information?"

With Lateral Reading, you verify a source as you read it.

Leave the site and open new tabs to assess the credibility of the original source.

  • search for the source on fact-checking sites
  • search for the owner or publisher of the source or site
  • research what other sites say about the source
  • follow references back to the original sources to verify them

Learn more in this video:

(three and a half minutes)


What is the CRAAP Test?

The CRAAP test provides basic questions to help you think about the quality of your source.

Is it Current?

When was it published? Are their references current? Is being current important for your topic?

Is it Relevant?

Does the info relate to my topic? What audience is it written for? Is it at an appropriate level for my needs?

Is it Authoritative?

Who is the author/organization? Are they qualified? Is it edited or peer-reviewed

Is it Accurate?

Where does the information come from? Are there references? Are there errors, broken links etc.?

What is its Purpose?

What's the purpose of the information? Advertising? Scholarly work? Opinion? Is there bias? Who is the intended audience?


Adapted from Meriam Library, California State University, Chico California