Research: What works, what doesn’t, what’s promising in accountability journalism

Increasingly, researchers have turned their attention to issues in fact-checking, accuracy and accountability journalism, particularly in politics. Through the American Press Institute’s project on accountability and fact-checking journalism, scholars from seven universities have conducted studies on topics ranging from the growth of fact-checking to false information on social media.

On this page, we’ll list the latest studies and reports from around the world designed to examine the practice of journalistic fact-checking and its impact. Have a study to share? Contact us.



The Spread of Fake News by Social Bots.  Chengcheng Shao, Giovanni Luca Ciampaglia, Onur Varol, Alessandro Flammini, and Filippo Menczer, Indiana University-Bloomington. July 2017.

Fact-Checking Effectiveness as a Function of Format and Tone: Evaluating and FlackCheck.orgDannagal G. Young, University of Delaware; Kathleen Hall Jamieson, University of Pennsylvania; Shannon Poulsen, Ohio State University; Abigail Goldring, University of Delaware. July 2017.

Taking Corrections Literally but not Seriously? The Effects of Information on Candidate Beliefs and Favorability. Brendan Nyhan, Dartmouth College; Ethan Porter, George Washington University; Jason Reifler, University of Exeter; Thomas J. Wood, Ohio State University. June 2017.

Perceived Social Presence Reduces Fact-Checking. Youjung Juna, Rachel Menga and Gita Venkataramani Johara of Columbia University. April 2017.

Rumor Detection on Twitter Pertaining to the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. Zhiwei Jin, Institute of Computing Technology and University of Chinese Academy of Science;  Juan Cao, Institute of Computing Technology;  Han Guo, Institute of Computing Technology and University of Chinese Academy of Science; Yongdong Zhang, Institute of Computing Technology; Yu Wang and Jiebo Luo, University of Rochester. April 2017.

Reminders and repetition of misinformation: Helping or hindering its retraction? Ullrich K.H.Ecker and Joshua L.Hogan, University of Western Australia; Stephan Lewandowsky, University of Bristol.  March 2017.



Do People Actually Learn From Fact-Checking? Evidence from a longitudinal study during the 2014 campaign. Brendan Nyhan, Dartmouth College; Jason Reifler, University of Exeter. September 2016.

A Comparative Analysis of the Partisan Targets of Media Fact-checking: Examining President Obama and the 113th Congress.” Stephen J. Farnsworth, University of Mary Washington;  S. Robert Lichter, George Mason University. September 2016.

“Media Choice and Moderation: Evidence from Online Tracking Data.” Andrew M. Guess, New York University. September 2016.

“The Scope and Correlates of Political Misperceptions in the Mass Public.” D.J. Flynn, Dartmouth College. September 2016.

Driving a Wedge Between Evidence and Beliefs: How Online Ideological News Exposure Promotes Political Misperceptions. R. Kelly Garrett, Ohio State University; Brian E. Weeks, University of Michigan; Rachel L. Neo, University of Hawaii. August 2016.

The Elusive Backfire Effect: Mass Attitudes’ Steadfast Factual Adherence. Thomas Wood, Ohio State University; Ethan Porter, University of Chicago and George Washington University. August 2016.

“Social Clicks: What and Who Gets Read on Twitter.” Maksym Gabielkov and  Arnaud Legout of Microsoft Research and DIANA; and Arthi Ramachandran and Augustin Chaintreau of Columbia University. June 2016.

Filter Bubbles, Echo Chambers, and Online News Consumption. Seth Flaxman, Sharad Goel and Justin M. Rao of the University of Oxford. March 2016.

“Analysing How People Orient to and Spread Rumours in Social Media by Looking at Conversational Threads.” Arkaitz Zubiaga, Maria Liakata, Rob Procter, all of University of Warwick (UK); and Geraldine Wong Sak Hoi, in Bern, Switzerland. March 2016.

“Hoaxy: A Platform for Checking Online Misinformation.” Chengcheng Shao, National University of Defense Technology, China; Giovanni Luca Ciampaglia, Alessandro Flammini and Filippo Menczer, Indiana University. March 2016.

“Fact-Checking Polarized Politics: Does the Fact-Check Industry Provide Consistent Guidance on Disputed Realities?”  Morgan Marietta, University of Massachusetts;  David C. Barker, California State University; Todd Bowser, University of Massachusetts. February 2016.

 “Why Do Journalists Fact-Check? The Role of Demand- and Supply-Side Factors.” Lucas Graves, University of Wisconsin; Brendan Nyhan, Dartmouth College; Jason Reifler, University of Exeter. January 2016.


Conspiracy Endorsement as Motivated Reasoning: The Moderating Roles of Political Knowledge and Trust.” Joanne M. Miller, University of Minnesota; Kyle L. Saunders, Colorado State University; Christina E. Farhart, University of Minnesota. November 2015.

The Prevalence, Consequence, and Remedy of Misinformation in Mass Media Systems.” Brian G. Southwell, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Emily A. Thorson, George Washington University. August 2015.

Motivations and Misinformation: Why People Retain Some Errors but Quickly Dismiss Others.” D.J. Flynn, Northwestern University; Yanna Krupnikov, Stony Brook University. August 2015.

The Emergence and Development of News Fact-Checking Sites.” Wilson Lowry, University of Alabama. July 2015. Subscription required for full text.

Michael Rosenstein/Creative Commons/Flickr

Michael Rosenstein/Creative Commons, Flickr

In Related News, That Was Wrong: The Correction of Misinformation through Related Stories Functionality in Social Media.” Leticia Bode, Emily Vraga, University of Wisconsin-Madison. June 2015. Subscription required for full text.

 “Computational Fact-Checking from Knowledge Networks.” Prashant Shiralkar, Luis M. Rocha, Johan Bollen, Filippo Menczer, Alessandro Flammini, all of Indiana University. June 2015.

“Fact-Check This: How U.S. Politics Adapts to Media Scrutiny.” Mark Stencel. May 2015.

“Agent-based modeling (ABM) and the Dissemination of Erroneous Information: A viral explanation of rumor propagation.” Leslie Caughell, Virginia Wesleyan University; Wenshuo Zhang and Amanda Cronkite of the University of Illinois. April 2015.

The Diffusion of Fact-Checking: Understanding the Growth of a Journalistic Innovation.” Lucas Graves, University of Wisconsin; Brendan Nyhan, Dartmouth College; Jason Reifler, University of Exeter. April 2015.

“Estimating Fact-Checking’s Effect: Evidence from a Long-Term Experiment during Campaign 2014.” Brendan Nyhan, Dartmouth College; Jason Reifler, University of Exeter. April 2015.

“Identifying and Correcting Policy Misperceptions.” Emily Thorson, George Washington University. April 2015.

“Fact-checking on Twitter: An Examination of Campaign 2014.” Andrew M. Guess, Columbia University. March 2015.

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire: How Fact-Checking Influences Citizens’ Reaction to Negative Advertising.” Kim Fridkin, Patrick J. Kenney and Amanda Wintersieck, Arizona State University. February 2015. Subscription required for full text.

Lies, Damn Lies and Viral Content: How News Websites Spread (and Debunk) Online Rumors, Unverified Claims, and Misinformation.” Craig Silverman, Tow Center for Digital Journalism. February 2015.

“A Comparison of Correction Formats: The Effectiveness and Effects of Rating Scale versus Contextual Corrections on Misinformation.” Michelle Amazeen, Rider University; Emily Thorson, George Washington University; Ashley Muddiman, University of Wyoming; Lucas Graves, University of Wisconsin. February 2015.

Developing an Ad-Reporting Typology: A Network Analysis Approach to Newspaper and Fact-Checker Coverage of the 2008 Presidential Election.” Michelle Amazeen, Rider University. February 2015. Subscription required for full text.

Revisiting the Epistemology of Fact-Checking.” Michelle Amazeen, Rider University. January 2015. Subscription required for full text.

Read the American Press Institute’s 2015 ground-breaking research on fact-checking, politics, and misinformation.


“Investigating Rumor Propagation with TwitterTrails.”  Samantha Finn, P. Takis Metaxis, Eni Mustafaraj, Wellesley University. 2014.

“His Lips are Moving: Pinocchio Effect and Other Lexical Indicators of Political Deceptions.” Michael T. Braun,  Millikin University; Lyn M. Van Swol and Lisa Vang, University of Wisconsin-Madison. November 2014. Subscription required for full text.

“Fact-Checking the Campaign: How Political Reporters Use Twitter to Set the Record Straight (or Not).  Mark Coddington, Logan Molyneux, Regina G. Lawrence, University of Texas-Austin. October 2014.

Checking the Fact-Checkers in 2008: Predicting Political Ad Scrutiny and Assessing Consistency.” Michelle A. Amazeen, Rider University. October 2014. Subscription required for full text.

Facebook and ‘Rumor Cascades.’” Adrien Friggeri, Facebook; Lada Adamic, University of Michigan; Dean Eckles, Facebook; Justin Cheng, Stanford University. June 2014.

Jeff Gates/Creative Commons, Flickr

Jeff Gates/Creative Commons, Flickr

The Science of ‘Truthiness.’” Eryn Newman, University of California-Irvine. June 2014.

Effects of Journalistic Adjudication on Factual Beliefs, News Evaluations, Information Seeking, and Epistemic Political Efficacy.” Raymond James Pingree, Louisiana State University; Dominique Brossard, University of Madison-Wisconsin; Douglas M. McLeod, University of Madison-Wisconsin. May 2014.

People with Easier to Pronounce Names Promote Truthiness of Claims.” Eryn J. Newman, Victoria University of Wellington; Mevagh Sanson, Victoria University of Wellington; Emily K. Miller, Victoria University of Wellington; Adele Quigley-McBride, Victoria University of Wellington; Jeffrey L. Foster, Victoria University of Wellington; Daniel M. Bernstein, Kwantlen Polytechnic University; Maryanne Garry, Victoria University of Wellington. February 2014.

Deception in Third Party Advertising in the 2012 Presidential Campaign.” Kenneth M. Winneg, Bruce W. Hardy, Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Annenberg Public Policy Center, University of Pennsylvania; Jeffrey A. Gottfried, Pew Research Center. February 2014. Subscription required for full text.

The Effects of Fact-Checking on Elites.” Brendan Nyhan, Dartmouth College; Jason Reifler, University of Exeter. July 2014.

The Social Mediation of Fact Checking Interventions in Twitter Conversations.” Aniko Hannak, Northeastern University; Drew Margolin, Cornell University; Brian Keegan, Northeastern University; Ingmar Weber, Qatar Computing Research Institute. 2014.



The Effects of Fact-Checking Threat: Results from a Field Experiment in the States.” Brendan Nyhan, Dartmouth College; Jason Reifler, University of Exeter. October 2013. 

The Epistemology of Fact-Checking.” Joseph E. Uscinski & Ryden W. Butler, University of Miami. October 2014. Subscription required for full text.

Making a Difference? A Critical Assessment of Fact-Checking in 2012.” Michelle Amazeen, Rider University. October 2013.

Which Corrections Work? Research results and practice recommendations.” Brendan Nyhan, Dartmouth College; Jason Reifler, University of Exeter. October 2013.

What We Can Learn from the Fact-Checkers’ Ratings.” Lucas Graves, University of Wisconsin-Madison. June 2013.

The Promise and Peril of Real-Time Corrections to Political Misperceptions.” R. Kelly Garrett, Ohio University; Brian E. Weeks, Ohio University. February 2013.

Belief Echoes: The Persistent Effect of Corrected Misinformation.” Emily Thorson, University of Pennsylvania. January 2013.

The consequences of misinformation and fact-checking for citizens, politicians and the media.” Emily Thorson, University of Pennsylvania. 2013.

“Deciding What’s True: Fact-Checking Journalism and the New Ecology of News.” Lucas Graves, University of Wisconsin-Madison. 2013. Subscription required for full text.

“Undermining the corrective effects of media-based political fact checking? The role of contextual cues and naıve theory.” R. Kelly Garrett, Erik C. Nisbet, and Emily K. Lynch, Ohio State University. 2013.


Those Who Seek out Fact Checking on the Internet Know More.” Annenberg Public Policy Center, University of Pennsylvania. September 2012.

Ron Cogswell/Creative Commons, Flickr

Ron Cogswell/Creative Commons, Flickr

The Fact-Checking Universe in Spring 2012.” Lucas Graves and Tom Glaisyer, Columbia University. February 2012.

Misinformation and Fact-Checking: Research Findings from Social Science.” Brendan Nyhan, Dartmouth College; Jason Reifler, Georgia State University. February 2012.

The Rise of Political Fact-checking/ How Reagan Inspired a Journalistic Movement: A Reporter’s Eye View.” Michael Dobbs, New American Foundation. February 2012.

“Misinformation and its Discounting: Continued Influence and Successful Debiasing.” Stephan Lewandowsky and Ullrich K. H. Ecker, University of Western Australia; Colleen Seifert and Norbert Schwarz, University of Michigan; andJohn Cook, University of Queensland and University of Western Australia. 2012.


Selection Bias? PolitiFact Rates Republican Statements as False at Three Times the Rate of Democrats.” Eric Ostermeier, University of Minnesota. February 2011.

Boomerang Effects in Science Communication.” P. Sol Hart, American University; Erik C. Nisbet, Ohio State University. August 2011.


When Corrections Fail: The Persistence of Political Misperceptions.” Brendan Nyhan, Dartmouth College; Jason Reifler, University of Exeter. 2006.

FCP_blackWhat is the Fact-Checking Project? Learn more, and tell us how we can help you
The American Press Institute’s Fact-Checking Project aims to improve and expand political and accountability journalism, especially during the 2016 elections.