Our Methodology

Topic Selection

Check Your Fact pays close attention to claims made by politicians, particularly party leaders on both sides of the aisle.

We frequently fact-check claims made by candidates for office, issue-based advocacy groups and prominent figures in the liberal and conservative media.

We sometimes address popular but suspect claims circulating on social media.

Check Your Fact strives to address claims that are extremely misleading or surprising, timely and may be of interest to readers.

We focus on verifiable facts and avoid fact-checking opinions or claims with ambiguous wording.

Our writers voraciously consume the news – the Sunday talk shows, television interviews on the major cable news networks, op-eds in popular news publications, etc. – in order to stay attuned to the talking points repeated by politicians, pundits and the like.

Our writers have also built out social media feeds – using Tweetdeck for Twitter and CrowdTangle for Facebook – that track the statements made by both conservatives and liberals. One feed tracks what Republican members of Congress are posting and another follows the posts of Democratic members; one tracks conservative advocacy groups and another follows liberal ones; and so on.

Scanning sources across the political spectrum allows us to ensure our mission remains a nonpartisan one.

It’s sometimes helpful to search for key words – “billion,” “percent,” “most” – when looking for claims to fact check. Claims are frequently stat-driven, and searching transcripts and social media for common terms is a useful trick of the trade.

Readers will sometimes send us fact check suggestions via email or social media.

Once a claim is identified, the writer performs cursory research and then pitches the topic to an editor, who then approves, requests more information or rejects the pitch. So long as the claim is cleanly worded, can be clearly established or rebutted and is timely or of interest to readers, the pitch will be approved.

Research Methods

Check Your Fact contacts experts with varying views on the matter at hand and only relies on reputable source material. This includes reports from nonpartisan government agencies, academic sources and research published by prominent think tanks.

Our research methods range from phone interviews to sifting through academic papers, news reports and books. We rely on primary documents wherever possible.

If a claim is suspect, we always reach out to the person who made the statement for supporting evidence and an opportunity to comment.

Writing Process

Check Your Fact delivers informative, but succinct content that provides readers with context and opposing points of view.

Our writing process is focused on clarity, transparency and balance.

Source material is hyperlinked extensively within the body of the article, and where a link is not available, the article tells readers where the information came from and the qualifications of the institution or individual who provided the content.

Check Your Fact also uses graphs and charts to clearly illustrate the verdict. The data is not only sourced within the graph, but also in the text of the fact check.

To help the reader understand the verdict, we put the most relevant information at the top – we summarize the gist of the article before delving into the details, and then try to establish the claim as early as possible.

For clarity, our lede sentence always states the claim that we have decided to fact check, followed by the verdict shortly thereafter.

It’s important to us that the reader understands why a claim was made – what was the context, what point was being made, and is that point justified by the claim at hand? Claims are often tied into larger narratives and ongoing news stories, so our mission is to provide the reader with enough context that he or she can follow along with ease.

We always give voice to both liberal and conservative perspectives in our fact checks.

Once a writer completes a draft, he or she submits the article to an editor who checks the content for accuracy, clarity and completeness. Updates are made as needed, followed by a final round of copy-editing prior to publication.

Rating System

In evaluating claims, we try to avoid nitpicking and are committed to letting the evidence guide our conclusions.

Check Your Fact’s rating system consists of three verdicts: true, false and unsubstantiated.

True – The primary aspects of the claim are true and can be backed up with evidence.

False – The primary aspects of the claim are false and lack supporting evidence.

Unsubstantiated – There’s not enough evidence to establish a claim as true or false. The claim may have been made prematurely, or there might be conflicting data.

We pay careful attention to word choice, and claims are rated based on whether the claim is literally correct.

For example, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen claimed that the U.S. stops “between 1,500 and 1,700 people a day, trying to cross illegally into this country.”

Her claim was only true when including immigrants who were turned away at ports of entry – i.e., people seeking admission the legal way.

Since her claim rested on the word “illegally,” we rated it false.

We rate all claims using the facts available at the time of publishing.

Editing Process

Check Your Fact has a dedicated editor who reviews every article for clarity, accuracy, fairness and consistency.

The editing process often involves back-and-forth conversations between the editor and writer.

The editor performs copy edits, checks the article word by word for accuracy and conducts an independent round of research to ensure the writer did not miss any data points or relevant context.

Corrections

If you believe one of our articles has an error, please contact our fact-check editor, Aislinn Murphy: [email protected].

You may also reach out to the author of the story. Contact information can be found at the bottom of every article.

An editor will review the article, and if there is an error, update the story accordingly.

If the error is significant, Check Your Fact will add an editor’s note drawing attention to the correction. Where necessary, we will also update the ruling.

Feedback

We encourage our readers to send us feedback, including recommendations on future fact-checks.

You may contact one of our reporters, or send an email to the fact-check editor, Aislinn Murphy: [email protected].

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