16 Why Fact-Checking?


When you find a source of information, how do you know if it’s true? How can you be sure that it is a reliable, trustworthy, and effective piece of evidence for your research? This chapter will introduce you to a set of strategies to quickly and effectively verify your sources, based on the approach taken by professional fact-checkers. Fact-checking is a form of information hygiene—it can minimize your own susceptibility to misinformation and disinformation, and help you to avoid spreading it to others.

As an introduction, please watch the following video [3:13], which discusses the results of a very interesting study of Stanford students, historians, and professional fact-checkers (Wineburg and McGrew). Which group do you think did the best job of identifying reliable sources?

Note: Turn on closed captions with the “CC” button or use the text transcript if you prefer to read.


Online Verification Skills – Video 1: Introductory Video.” YouTube, uploaded by CTRL-F, 29 June 2018.

Wineburg, Sam, and Sarah McGrew. “Lateral Reading: Reading Less and Learning More When Evaluating Digital Information.” Stanford History Education Group Working Paper No. 2017-A1, 6 Oct. 2017, dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3048994.


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Introduction to College Research Copyright © by Walter D. Butler; Aloha Sargent; and Kelsey Smith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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