The first step in factchecking, finding a claim, can often be the hardest part of the process. But a good claim is often right around the corner.
The internet can be an overwhelming source of information when trying to search for a claim. A lot of people make claims that could be checked but those are not always valuable or relevant.
1 You are the start of everything
When searching for a claim it is important that you use your background as a starting position. Think about articles you wrote in the past, research that has passed your desk or even your interests and hobbies. All these things can provide a way to find a claim. Choose a specific theme from your background as a starting point for your fact check instead of surfing the web in the hope of stumbling upon a claim.
2 WWW, your ally
Once you found the direction in which you want your fact check to go the world wide web is your closest ally. Blogs, interviews and especially social media are the biggest sources of information where your topic will have been discussed. When searching for claims Twitter rises above all other platforms. A lot of politicians, lobbyists, spokespersons etc. gladly make use of Twitter to influence not only the public but also each other.
3 Think of relevance
The next step is to find a claim of someone relevant. Someone that speaks for a group or an institution has a large audience, which makes the claim more relevant. The average working Joe might have interesting opinions about certain topics but often isn’t the most relevant person to make statements.
4 Stay on topic
The final step is to find a topical claim. Search for statements that were recently said or written. A claim from a few years ago might not be relevant anymore or might have already been proven correct or false by other factcheckers. The person who made the claim might have already changed his mind or the times might have changed in a way that changes the context of the claim. A topical statement gives more relevance to your factcheck.
Hopefully this tip can help you find a claim more smoothly. It is certainly not the only way to find a claim. Sometimes it can be refreshing to just start browsing and searching the web with an open mind to discover new territories or even start wandering through magazines and newspapers.
RESEARCH | ARTICLE © Yanko Beeckman, Fré Clijmans, Pieter Desaever, Endrik Van Cutsem, AP University College, Antwerp, Belgium
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