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IST 605: Misinformation and COVID-19

An exploration of misinformation as it pertains to the spread, severity, and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Safe Searching Practices

Given the rapidly evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, it's crucial to access the most recent information to ensure accuracy and relevance. As new research emerges and our understanding of the virus and its impacts evolve, what was considered accurate a few months ago might be outdated today. To achieve the latest results in your research, refining search filters to focus on the publish date is essential. Here's how you can do it:

Strategies for Finding the Most Recent Information:

  1. Use Date Filters & Advanced Search Operators on Search Engines:

    • Most search engines and databases allow you to filter results by date. You can set a custom range like "past month" or "past year" to get the most recent publications.
    • In Google Scholar, you can select 'Since Year' to view only recently published papers.
    • In search engines, use advanced search operators to narrow down the timeframe of your search results. For example, using "COVID-19 research 2023.." in Google will filter results from 2023 onwards.
  2. Search on Dedicated COVID-19 Research Hubs:

    • Many academic journals and databases have created specific sections for COVID-19 research, frequently updated with the latest studies.
    • Example: JSTOR, ScienceDirect, and PubMed have dedicated resources for COVID-19.
  3. Follow Reputable Health Organizations and Journals:

    • Organizations like the WHO, CDC, and reputable medical journals regularly update their findings. Subscribing to their newsletters or following them on social media can provide immediate updates.
  4. Library and Database Specific Tools:

    • In ProQuest, you can enter "COVID-19" as your main search, and add Boolean operators to hone in on specific subjects:
      • AND "Vaccines"
      • AND "Misinformation"
      • AND "Masks"
      • AND "Politics"
    • Find help using ProQuest here.
    • Through the Discover Database finder, you can hone in on a suggested database, like Pubmed, and employ the same advanced search options to customize results.
  5. Check Updates on Clinical Trials:

    • Websites like provide information on ongoing or recently completed clinical trials, which can be a source of up-to-date data.
      • Enter "COVID-19" in the "Condition/Disease" field, and utilize the subsequent drop-downs to hone in on a specific area.
        • The additional search filters are quite extensive, so consider narrowing results by choosing "completed" and "with results" if you're looking for discernable data

Importance of Recent Information

  • Reliability: As the situation with COVID-19 changes rapidly, older information might not be as reliable.
  • Policy Changes: Health guidelines and policies have been regularly updated throughout the pandemic, reflecting new research and findings.
  • Scientific Developments: Our understanding of the virus, its variants, and vaccines has evolved, making continuous updates essential.

By focusing on the most recent information and using these strategies to filter your searches, you can ensure that your research on COVID-19 is as current and accurate as possible.