Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln


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Lewandowsky, S., Cook, J., Ecker, U. K. H., Albarracín, D., Amazeen, M. A., Kendeou, P., Lombardi, D., Newman, E. J., Pennycook, G., Porter, E. Rand, D. G., Rapp, D. N., Reifler, J., Roozenbeek, J., Schmid, P., Seifert, C. M., Sinatra, G. M., Swire-Thompson, B., van der Linden, S., Vraga, E. K., Wood, T. J., Zaragoza, M. S. (2020). The Debunking Handbook 2020, 19 pages, PDF

Also available translated into several languages at and

doi: 10.17910/b7.1182


Copyright 2020, the authors. Used by permission.


For more information on The Debunking Handbook 2020 including the consensus process by which it was developed, see

In November 2011, we published The Debunking Handbook. As the update notice on that page already shows, more research has come in since then and the time had finally come for a complete overhaul of this very popular handbook (it still gets downloaded a couple of thousand times in most months!). The two authors of the original handbook - Stephan Lewandowsky and John Cook - got in touch with other researchers who look into how best to counter misinformation and 20 of them signed up as co-authors. The result of their work can now be downloaded as The Debunking Handbook 2020.

The handbook is a consensus document that was created by an innovative process that involved a series of predefined steps, all of which were followed and documented and are publicly available. The authors were invited based on their scientific status in the field, and they all agreed on all points made in the handbook. We therefore believe that the new Handbook reflects the scientific consensus about how to combat misinformation. Read more about the consensus process.

The Handbook distills the most important research findings and current expert advice about debunking misinformation and contains information about these topics available in four excerpts:

Part 1:

Misinformation can do damage; Where does misinformation come from? Misinformation can be sticky; Sticky myths leave other marks

Part 2:

Prevent misinformation from sticking if you can; Simple steps to greater media literacy; The strategic map of debunking; Who should debunk?

Part 3:

The elusive backfire effects; Role of worldview in belief confirmation

Part 4

Debunk often and properly; Collective action: Debunking on social media