Q. How can I verify that a specific claim or fact an author presents is true?
Check your emotions. If you're having a strong emotional reaction, whether it's anger, frustration, or validation, take a moment and pause. At these times your critical perspective might be diminished when you should be fact-checking. Slow down and use your moves!
The 4 Moves
1. Check for previous work: Many provocative claims on the Internet have already been fact-checked or researched. News coverage, trusted online sites, or fact-checking sites, such as Politifact or Snopes may have a synthesis of the evidence readily available.
2. Go upstream to the source: Check the embedded web links or perform a search to find the original or search for the source of the information.
3. Read laterally: Not all sources are created equal. If you are unsure about the quality of your source, read laterally across other trustworthy sites to find more information about the platform or author.
4. Circle back: Sometimes reading laterally will suggest that a source is not accurate, is more complex than you thought, or leads to a dead end. Stop and use what you have learned to begin a better-informed search.