Fact checking has its origin in the early 20th century, when magazines began to verify statements made in non-fictional texts prior to publication. This practice increases credibility and trustworthiness of articles and documents. Today, fact checking is often associated with political journalism, but can of course be used in any field, including your homework.
Using the following fact checking websites, you can verify factual assertions made in your own writings.
Google & Other Search Engines
Google can find the truth. However, it takes a critical eye to distinguish truth from fiction, especially when digging through hundreds of search engine results. Nevertheless, a search engine is a good start. When you are checking facts for your homework, try Google Scholar to find scholarly literature or Google Books.
If you need something to use for school, also have a look at this article – Where To Research Material For Your Homework
Snopes is the best place to make sure you didn’t fall for an urban legend, folklore, myth, rumor, or other misinformation spread online. Snopes knows coke will not dissolve your teeth, there is no law in Arizona specifically forbidding camel-hunting, the Great Wall of China is not the only man-made object visible from the moon, and much more.
It is worth noting that Snopes lists its sources at the end of every article. You can search the site with a few keywords and switch to advanced search if the results are not exactly what you are looking for.
We have previously profiled Snopes for the MakeUseOf Directory.
Similar websites can be found in these articles:
- 5 Websites For The Skeptics On Myths, Urban Legends, & False Beliefs
- Online Resources To Battle Frauds, Urban Legends & Spam
- 2 Websites to Verify Urban Legends and Email Scams
When talking about checking facts, the political arena is hard to exclude. One of the online fact checking authorities in this field is FactCheck.org, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. FactCheck.org describes itself as “a nonpartisan, nonprofit consumer advocate for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception in U.S. politics.” In other words, this should be your number one source for information in the 2012 US elections.
While we try to stay out of political debates, we have previously written about similar websites:
- The WikiLeaks Fallout – 8 Websites For Progressive News & Political Commentary
- 8 Election Day Voting Resource Websites: Who, What & Where
- 5 Non-Partisan Web Tools For Election 2008
WhoWhatWhen is a database that contains information about famous people and famous events. The data can be assembled in various ways to create graphic timelines of periods in history or of the lives of individuals. For example the screenshot below shows the timeline for the life of the composer Johann Sebastian Bach.
Using the world of drop-down menus, contemporary events from different categories can be added. This reveals that Bach was alive when the first elevator was installed.
WhoWhatWhen also contains some interesting lists, for example alive & kicking, a list of the oldest still living celebrities, presently headed by actor Ernest Borgnine (95).
Finally, a great place to quickly check basic facts, such as the meaning of words, medical information, or overview articles, is an encyclopedia. One of the best free sources is that of Merriam-Webster.
We have previously reviewed Merriam-Webster here: Merriam Webster – An Excellent Free Dictionary For Offline Use [Android 1.6+]
Also see these articles for more interesting dictionaries:
- Vocabulary Challenged? Try 8 Things On Dictionary.com To Improve Your English
- A Roundup Of 5 Online Video Dictionaries You Can Have Fun With Or Use To Look Up Words
Which resources do you use to check your facts?
Image credit: Thumbs Up and Down via Shutterstock
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