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Evaluating Information: SIFT (The Four Moves)

A guide to evaluating information designed and created by Clark Librarians

Introduction to SIFT

Welcome to SIFT, an evaluation method designed by Mike Caulfield.

nfographic showing the steps of SIFT: Stop, investigate the source, find trusted coverage, trace claims, quotes and media to the original context.

The SIFT method was created by Mike Caulfield. All SIFT information on this page is adapted from his materials with a CC BY 4.0 license.

Determining if resources are credible is challenging. Use the SIFT method to help you analyze information, especially news or other online media.

Remember, you can always Ask a Librarian for help with evaluating information.

S - Stop

Before you read the article, stop!

Before you share the video, stop!

Before you act on a strong emotional response to a headline, stop!

Ask yourself: Do I know this website? Do I know this information source? Do I know it's reputation?

Before moving forward, use the other three moves: Investigate the Source, Find Better Coverage, and Trace Claims, Quotes, and Media back to the Original Context.

I - Investigate the Source

  • Use Google or Wikipedia to investigate a news organization or other resource.
  • Hovering is another technique to learn more about who is sharing information, especially on social media platforms such as Twitter.

F - Find Better Coverage

T - Trace Claims, Quotes, and Media Back to the Original Context

  • Click through to follow links to claims
  • Open up the original reporting sources listed in a bibliography if present
  • Look at the original context. Was the claim, quote, or media fairly represented?

Additional SIFT Resources

facebook  twitter   blog youtube maps