Fact Checking (Or How NOT to Get Caught in a Lie)
In the ‘old days,’ when you used to go to the library to get information about your school report or your article, you needed to be deliberate in the way you looked for and checked your information. You couldn’t just make something up, and you couldn’t just guess about a fact.
You had to find it in a book and then copy it from the book, citing it as the teacher or boss indicated you do. It was a straightforward process, and it meant that what you wrote was accurate (assuming the source was accurate).
The Internet makes things a little less concrete. Though you might think of the online setting as being the biggest library you can find, it’s also a place where anyone can post anything. This is where things can get difficult. Because we tend to believe much of what we read online, it can be hard to really know if a fact is a fact.
Learning how to fact check is an essential task for writers today. There are a few different thoughts on how this can be done effectively, but one basic way of checking your facts begins with finding your facts through trusted sources – i.e. .edu and.gov sites. Or you might want to talk directly to an academic organization.
But even then, it can help to check that fact in several other places to make sure it’s consistent. Facts that aren’t consistent may not be facts at all. Check at least two other sources, and then write those sources down for others to double-check, if needed.
Even if you find out the fact is not a fact later, at least you’ve done your homework.