Since the material we fact-check can range from everything to analyzing whether an image has been digitally manipulated to explicating the text of a Congressional bill, we can’t describe any single method that applies to all our fact-checking efforts.
In general, each entry is assigned to one of the members of our editorial staff who undertakes the preliminary research and writes the first draft of the fact check.
Our research generally begins with (whenever possible) attempting to contact the source of the claim for elaboration and supporting information. We also attempt to contact individuals and organizations who would be knowledgeable about, or have relevant expertise in, the subject at hand, as well as searching out printed information (news articles, scientific and medical journal articles, books, interview transcripts, statistical sources) with bearing on the topic.
We attempt to use non-partisan information and data sources (e.g., peer-reviewed journals, government agency statistics) as much as possible, and to alert readers that information and data from sources such as political advocacy organizations and partisan think tanks should be regarded with skepticism.
Depending upon the nature and complexity of the topic, other members of the editorial staff may contribute additional research (or their own personal expertise) and editing. The final product will pass through the hands of at least one editor. Any piece that is not deemed up to our standards by one or more editors is subject to further revision and review before being released for publication.