Full Fact puts Claims and Conclusions under the spotlight

2 May 2018 | Team Full Fact

claim and conclusion evaluationAt Full Fact HQ, a little celebration is in order - we've recently published our 1,000th conclusion. But before we pop open a bottle of half-price bubbly, in true Full Fact style it's time to evaluate how well they are working.

We’ve been using the claim and conclusion format since 2015. We aimed to make it easier for busy readers to get value out of our factchecks, which are often long and nuanced, as we try to look at the claim from all sides.

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The challenges of claims and conclusions 

Claims and conclusions have to work in their own right because they get reused. We feed the text into our automated factchecking tools. Google also partially embeds them in its search results. We also turn them into images for our social media posting. 

Summarising an entire factcheck in a sentence is a tricky business. We need to be accurate and fair - but the shorter you go, the harder both become.

We make it our top priority to play the ball, not the man. Unlike other factcheckers, we don't use a rating system on a scale of true to false, because the real world isn’t that simple. We don’t call people liars as is the norm for factchecking in some other countries. We would say the claim is wrong, not the person. 

What we’re evaluating

We’re now in the process of reviewing how well our conclusions work. Among other things, we’ll be looking at how consistently we describe levels of accuracy, and whether we’re consistently critical.

We're also working with academic researchers to understand how different ways of summarising factchecks affect how people understand them. 

We need you

We'd also like to hear from you. Do you find the claims and conclusions helpful? Simplistic? Do they make you want to read more or switch off? Would you like more explanation about sources or reasons for conclusions, or are they too long already? 

Please email your ideas to us at team@fullfact.org with the subject line 'CC feedback'. 

Whatever we find and do about it we'll never stop publishing full factchecks with links to their sources - our job as factcheckers is to help you decide, not to tell you what to think. Whatever we find, we’ll be sure to publish the results and our corresponding actions.

We’ll CC you on the other side...

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