When confronted with a claim that may not be 100% true what people need most are things they can do to get closer to the truth. They need something I have decided to call “moves.”
Moves accomplish intermediate goals in the fact-checking process. They are associated with specific tactics. Here are the four moves this guide will hinge on:
- Check for previous work: Look around to see if someone else has already fact-checked the claim or provided a synthesis of research.
- Go upstream to the source: Go “upstream” to the source of the claim. Most web content is not original. Get to the original source to understand the trustworthiness of the information.
- Read laterally: Read laterally. Once you get to the source of a claim, read what other people say about the source (publication, author, etc.). The truth is in the network.
- Circle back: If you get lost, hit dead ends, or find yourself going down an increasingly confusing rabbit hole, back up and start over knowing what you know now. You’re likely to take a more informed path with different search terms and better decisions.
Caulfield, Michael A. (n.d.). Web literacy for student fact checkers. Retrieved from https://webliteracy.pressbooks.com/chapter/four-strategies/