What is the SIFT method?
Watch the video below to learn more about how to use this evaluation method!
The first move is the simplest. STOP reminds you of two things:
The next step is to Investigate the answers to the questions you asked yourself at the STOP step:
In the previous video, Mike Caulfield explains how to use Wikipedia and a quick Google search to gather more information about a source to understand its purpose and creators.
To do a quick evaluation of a site:
KEYPOINT: Wikipedia can get a bad rep sometimes because anyone can edit the pages.
In today's information landscape, you'll often find news and commentary sites using Tweets or other social media posts in their reporting. Or someone you know will share a post that makes you STOP.
Applying a few quick investigative steps can help you add context back to a conversation or verify the credibility of the author:
Images are frequently edited or taken out of context on the internet. In a few steps, you can check to see if it has been changed or used in an incorrect way.
In Step 3, we're focused on whether the information is true, and less on the source itself:
If you encounter information while reading a source that you don't know much about, you may just want to verify that the information is true without spending time verifying that source.
Or perhaps you know it's a low quality source! So you need to find better coverage of that information elsewhere in a source that you DO trust.
How can we do that easily?
KEYPOINT: Expert fact-checkers have a group of high-quality news source that they trust.
KEYPOINT: Sometimes you’ll find that no one else is writing about it, which is often a warning sign.
In the world of reposting, retweeting and re-reporting, we need the skills to locate original writing and trace claims to a source that has verified the information.
Due to the way information is shared online, you may find info that has been stripped of context. This could be due to inaccurate or misleading re-reporting, edited sound and video, images being shared with inaccurate captions, etc.
There may be times when added analysis improves the story that you read. However, in most cases when a story circulates over and over, it can create a game of telephone where the information becomes warped and you’re presented with either a radically wrong version of an event or research. Or someone has added too much of their own opinion. This is when you investigate further and start tracing back to the original source for full context.