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Evaluating Sources of Information

How to use a fact checker

Fact-checking websites provide fact-checking services on a variety of topics, both political and non-political. They typically fact check popular things happening in the news or online trends. Therefore, you won't find a fact check for every source or claim you find online.

This is a good lateral reading strategy to use when you are researching something broad or topical.

Search Tip: If there is a fact check on your topic, you can usually locate it by searching for an article title or the topic paired with the phrase "fact check."

Example

The source to investigate

Breitbart News ran a story claiming there was a peer-reviewed study proving all recent global warming fabricated by climatologists. Essentially, the article is promoting the idea that global warming is a hoax and using a peer-reviewed study to give the claim credibility.

Screenshot of Breitbart article, Delingpole: "Nearly All Recent Global Warming Is Fabricated, Study Finds"

Action: Open a new tab

Search

To locate a fact check on this story, you would need to do an internet search for the title of the article and the phrase "fact check." You can see a Snopes article showed up as the first result.

View the Fact Check

The Snopes article debunked this claim. The "evidence" provided by the Breitbart News story was proven to not be a peer-reviewed article. Snopes reports...

"Breitbart here lowers the bar for what passes as both “peer-reviewed” and a “study”. This report, published on a WordPress blog run by co-author Joseph D’Aleo—a meteorologist who did not complete a PhD, but who prominently advertises his honorary doctorate on the document’s cover page—is not published in a scientific journal. … Given the fact that this study is not published in a journal but on a WordPress blog run by one of the co-authors, it is difficult to see how Wolff’s careful and critical reading of the document constitutes a formal peer review."

Screenshot of Google search results with Snopes page as the first result