Civic Preparation for the Digital Age: How College Students Evaluate Online Sources about Social and Political Issues

The ability to find credible information online is necessary for informed civic engagement in the 21st century. This need is particularly acute for young people, who often turn to the Internet to learn about social and political issues. Preparing students to evaluate online content, particularly as it concerns social and political issues, aligns with broader efforts to reinvigorate the civic mission of colleges and universities. We analyzed how college students (n= 263) evaluated online sources about public policy issues. Results showed that a majority employed ineffective strategies for evaluating digital information. Many of the strategies students used mirrored advice found on college and university websites. These findings suggest a need to reconsider post-secondary approaches to teaching online evaluation strategies.

Full article available at The Journal of Higher Education