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Speech Communication: SIFT Evaluation

SIFT Overview

SIFT: Moves for Web Evaluation


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.
  • 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. Use a fact checking web site to help you identify the source.  You can also use Wikipedia or Google the source to do a quick check of who is creating the information and/or funding it.
  • FIND trusted coverage.
    Sometimes it's less important to know about the source and more important to assess their claim. Look for credible sources; compare information across sources and determine whether there appears to be a consensus. Do you need to find the original source to get all of the information?
  • 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 on in another online publication or an image is shared on Twitter). See if you can find the orginal article or tweet or image--and understand how it was originally presented.

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

Later, when you determine that the site is worth your time, you can analyze the source's content more carefully.

SIFT Method in action

SIFT Method Lateral Reading

Why should you act like a fact checker?  The video below discusses the Stanford History Education Project research on our ability to recognize reliable information on the Web.

What are the techniques for a quick evaluation of the facts?

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  • Last Updated: Apr 3, 2024 9:29 AM
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