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Modern Middle East: Israel/Palestine

Researching Controversial Topics

Researching controversial topics can be difficult! In order to to find reliable information start by getting a solid background understanding of the topic, then proceed by finding a variety of sources to get a big picture. Controversial issues are often very nuanced, so when a source is offering especially extreme viewpoints, be critical and do some digging!

Controversial topics can lead even trustworthy publications to make mistakes, use loaded language, and complicate the message. Journalists are people, and even if their goal is to provide facts in a neutral manner, bias will undoubtedly seep in subconsciously (or consciously!). A good way to avoid confusion is to find articles and information from several sources to fully understand the topic. 

Below you'll find sources that can offer a background to the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, sources to help make sense of the current (May 2021) crisis, and some tips for avoiding misinformation on social media.

Background Research


Books to Check Out


Misinformation on Social Media

Social media offer many people a powerful way to share information. Marginalized groups especially have used these tools to get important ideas heard. Social media can also make spreading misinformation very easy! 
Use these questions to guide you in figuring out if the posts you are viewing are reliable.

  • Is the post so extreme that it’s hard to believe?
  • Does the post share or cite where they got their image/video/quote?
  • Have you seen the same information backed up by a reputable news source?
  • Who is posting? What is the purpose of their account? I.e. are they an activist or journalist, or are they a lifestyle influencer or celebrity?
  • If they are using images or videos, are you sure they haven’t been altered or taken out of context?

Finally, find people to follow out of your bubble. It can be eye opening to follow activists, citizens, politicians, and others who don't share the same views as you.