First Year Writing Research Guide

Trace information back to its original source

Finally, TRACE claims, quotes, and media back to the original source or context:

A lot of re-sharing and re-reporting happens online, and much of what we find on the internet has been stripped of context. Sometimes the people who pre-share or re-report these stories either get things wrong by mistake; sometimes they are intentionally misleading you. Finding the original source of a story, video, image, or other content helps to determine credibility by establishing that context.

For example:

  • Has a video clip been strategically edited or cut to leave something out?
  • Is that picture real and its caption true, or is it being misrepresented in some way?
  • Is that claim about a new medical treatment based on a research finding accurately representing what the original research paper claimed?

If you are having trouble hunting down the original source, a fact-checking site—like FactCheckSnopes, Politifact, or Reuters—or reverse image search (TinEye) may help. If a source cites its sources, follow the links (if listed) or look up the sources if included in a bibliography, cited sources, reference page, etc. 

Scholarly/Academic Sources Tip: Does your original source cite scholarly/academic or peer-reviewed articles? Use EKU Libraries resources to track them down