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Evaluating Information


Icons representing each letter of the SIFT method


1. Stop

Before you hit that share button, or read an article for a paper, think about whether you trust the source.  If you have any questions, it's time to put on your fact-checker hat.  It's time to take five minutes and SIFT that source!

2. Investigate the source

Knowing the expertise and agenda of the source is crucial to your interpretation of what they say. Taking sixty seconds to figure out where media is from before reading will help you decide if it is worth your time, and if it is, help you to better understand its significance and trustworthiness.  Google the author; see if their social media account is verified (usually a blue checkmark); google the publication or organization sponsoring the information.

3. Find trusted coverage

Do a news search to fact-check the information.  What do other resources say about this topic?  What is the consensus (even if you disagree)?  Try using a fact-checking site like Snopes or PolitiFact.  If the source skews left or right, seek out a reputable source with a different viewpoint (check out the Media Bias Chart for some ideas).

4. Trace claims, quotes, and media to the original context

Check the date, and find the context.  Trace claims, quotes, and media back to their original source. Are quotes and claims fairly represented? Try a reverse Google image search and see if the media has been edited.

Adapted from Mike Caulfield,, CC BY 4.0

Resources: Learn More About SIFT