- Check for previous work: Look around to see if someone else has already fact-checked the claim or provided a synthesis of research. [Some places to look: Wikipedia, Snopes, Politifact and NPR’s own Fact Check website.]
- Go upstream to the source: Most web content is not original. Get to the original source to understand the trustworthiness of the information. Is it a reputable scientific journal? Is there an original news media account from a well-known outlet? If that’s not immediately apparent, then move to step 3.
- Read laterally: Once you get to the source of a claim, read what other people say about the source (publication, author, etc.). The truth is in the network.
- Circle back: If you get lost, or hit dead ends or find yourself going down a rabbit hole, back up and start over.