When fact-checking a particular claim, quote, or article, check to see if someone has already done the verification work for you. A reputable fact-checking site or subject wiki may have already successfully traced claims to their source, identified the owners of various sites, and linked to reputable sources for counterclaims.
If the fact checking site is reputable and trustworthy, then you can be confident in using the source or not.
Constructing a Query to Find Previous Fact-Checking
Check for previous fact-checking by searching known and trusted fact-checking sites for a phrase or keyword from the story. Use the “site” function in search engines such as Google and DuckDuckGo .
Site Search. The Site Search function allows you to search a specific domain(s) for a search term instead of the entire internet.
In this example, we used the DuckDuckGo search engine. For our query, we use Politifact and Snopes (well-known fact-checking sites) as well as keywords from the story in the following syntax:
obama iraqi visa ban 2011 site:snopes.com site:politifact.com
Here are the results of our search:
The results show that work has already been done in this area. In fact, the first result from Snopes answers our question almost fully. Remember to follow search engine best practice – scan the results and click on the best result in the result list. There are similar syntaxes you can use in Google, but for various reasons this particular search is easier in DuckDuckGo.
Let’s look at another claim, this time from the President. This claim is that police officer deaths increased 56 percent from 2015 to 2016. Here it is in context:
Let’s ramp it up with a query that checks four different fact-checking sites:
officer deaths 2016 increased 56 percent from 2015 site:factcheck.org site:snopes.com site:politifact.com site:www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/
This gives us back a helpful array of results. The first, from the Washington Post, actually answers our question, but some of the others provide some helpful context as well.
The Washington Post confirms that this claim is true. We do not need to search any further.