17 Has it Already Been Fact-Checked?

When fact-checking a particular claim, quote, or article, check to see if someone has already done the verification work for you. A reputable fact-checking site or subject wiki may have already successfully traced claims to their source, identified the owners of various sites, and linked to reputable sources for counterclaims. If the fact checking site is reputable and trustworthy, then you can be confident in using the source or not.
— Has it Already Been Fact-Checked?, Michael Caulfield

Constructing a Query to Find Previous Fact-Checking

Check for previous fact-checking by searching known and trusted fact-checking sites for a phrase or keyword from the story. Use the “site” function in search engines such as Google and DuckDuckGo .

Site Search.  The Site Search function allows you to search a specific domain(s) for a search term instead of the entire internet.


oklahoma police ERAD

In this example, we used the DuckDuckGo search engine. For our query, we use Snopes (a well-known fact-checking site) as well as keywords from the story in the following syntax:

oklahoma police ERAD site:snopes.com

Here are the results of our search:

Duckduckgo oklahoma police search results

The results show that work has already been done in this area. In fact, the first result from Snopes answers our question almost fully. Remember to follow search engine best practice – scan the results and click on the best result in the result list. There are similar syntaxes you can use in Google, but for various reasons this particular search is easier in DuckDuckGo.

Let’s look at another claim, this time from Good Jobs First. This claim is that Oklahoma teachers are the worst paid in the country. Here it is in context:

oklahoma teachers good jobs first post

Let’s check this out using another well known fact-checking site (politifact.com):

good jobs first oklahoma teachers site:politifact.com

This gives us back a helpful array of results. The first article (the first two results are advertisements only) actually answers our question, but some of the others provide some helpful context as well.

oklahoma teachers politifact results

Politifact confirms that this claim is mostly true (completely true for the average salary of private school teachers and tax breaks for energy companies, but Oklahoma is third from the bottom in public school teacher pay). We do not need to search any further.

Concept Review Exercise: Fact Check #2


This section includes material from the source chapter, “Has It Already Been Fact-Checked?” by NSCC and Mike Caulfield, found in Web Literacy for College Students, licensed under CC BY 4.0, as well as the following:

Original material by book author Calantha Tillotson.


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Has it Already Been Fact-Checked? by Adam Brennan; Jamie Holmes; Calantha Tillotson; and Sarah Burkhead Whittle is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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