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Newsletter: Help us build Canada’s go-to database for fact-checking and research

In the spirit of radical transparency, we want to share a part of our fact-checking process with you.

This article originally appeared in our data newsletter. Want more info like this? Every month, we break down the numbers and share the how-tos behind our reporting. Read past editions and subscribe here.


Verifying information and presenting a fair, accurate story is at the core of what we do as journalists. So, in the spirit of radical transparency, we want to share a part of our fact-checking process with you.

Below is a database that lists sources of information you can use to start your own research. The resources come from a variety of sources, including tipsheets from Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc. (IRE), journalism courses from the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, “master classes” from The Tyee and some deep, dark Googling.

Here are three ways you can use this database:

1. To get basic knowledge of a topic:

  • Search through archives and resource lists, such as LexisNexis and ProQuest, to find what news coverage already exists on the topic
  • Read old news stories, which reveal how the topic is being discussed in public and who the most vocal players are

2. To find academic and legal experts:

  • Search through academic and legal databases, such as Google Scholar, ResearchGate and The Conversation
  • Read footnotes and citations, which indicate where academics, lawyers and institutions are getting their information

3. To uncover data that already exists:

  • Search through sources categorized as open data, government records, FOIs and leaked documents
  • Create data visualizations, which can show possible trends and gaps in knowledge

Now, you have some initial research – but is it reliable? A big part of fact-checking includes thinking critically about where the information originally came from, determining any biases the publisher or author may have and identifying gaps in their methodology. There are sources in our database that can help you with that, including Rbutr and Beall’s list of predatory journals and publishers. You can also use our database to guide your background research into businesses, charities and people.

Before you get started, here are some tips:

  • Think of this as a first step for research and fact-checking
  • Use the filter function to narrow by type of information or region
  • Use Ctrl + F (or Command + F on a Mac) to search by topic or keyword

My hope is for us to continue building this database together by including the knowledge and perspectives of Canada’s journalism community and beyond. That’s why I’ve opened the spreadsheet for comments and sharing.

I invite you to comment and share your thoughts, particularly if:

  • You see a source that you think is unreliable
  • You have a source you’d like to add
  • You have a tip or warning about a listed source
  • You want to share a story that uses one of the listed sources 

You can access the entire database, here.

I’ll be monitoring the comments and adding your feedback, so please share this page widely. Let’s create the go-to database for fact-checking and research together. Finally, send me an email if you have any ideas on how to improve this resource.

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