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Clay Library: Fake News

Middle School and Upper School Library at FCDS

Specifically about SIFT

SIFT is a helpful acronym for initially evaluating source credibility. SIFT (from Mike Caulfield) stands for:

  • STOP. Pause and ask yourself if you recognize the information source and if you know anything about the website or the claim's reputation.
    If not, use the moves (below) to learn more. If you start getting too overwhelmed during the other moves, pause and remember your original purpose.
  • INVESTIGATE the source.
    Take a minute to identify where this information comes from and to consider the creator's expertise and agenda. Is this source worth your time? Look at what others have said about the source to help with you these questions. 
    (For example, a company that sells health food products is not the best source for information about health benefits/risks of consuming coconut oil. A research study funded by a pharmaceutical company is also suspect.)
  • FIND trusted coverage.
    Sometimes it's less important to know about the source and more importance to assess their claim. Look for credible sources; compare information across sources and determine whether there appears to be a consensus.
  • TRACE claims, quotes, and media back to the original context.
    Sometimes online information has been removed from its original context (for example, a news story is reported in another online publication or an image is shared on Twitter). If needed trace the information back to the original source in order to re-contextualize it. 

Modified from Mike Caulfield's SIFT (Four Moves), which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.