The SIFT Method is one way to evaluate information. This method works well for online formats and popular sources.
Click through the tabs on this box to learn more about each of the four steps.
This first step asks you to pause for a moment before automatically trusting a source and accepting it as true. Don't share it or use it for your research until you know more.
This step asks you to investigate the source or the claim being made. Become a fact checker and read laterally. Go outside the source to learn what other sources say about it.
Start by researching the author and the organization.
Where is the author getting their information? What sources do they cite to support their work? Scholarly sources should have a list of References. Popular online sources may link to their sources throughout the text, or in some cases you might see references at the end.
The website's domain is not an indicator of its credibility. The domain only tells you what kind of website it is: commercial, education, government, non-profit organization (possibly). Remember to evaluate the source based on the information it contains, not by the URL.
A website that ends in .gov (government website) is considered authoritative, but you should still evaluate it to make sure it meets your information need.
Investigate this source: Self-Driving Cars Explained from the Union of Concerned Scientists.
This step asks you to find better coverage of the source or claim. It can help you determine if you have the best source for your information need.
When you search Google, look beyond the first few results, which can be sponsored content or ads. Businesses can pay for their sites to float up to the top, but that doesn’t make them the best resource.
Google and other internet browsers use algorithms to determine what kind of information to show you. Those algorithms look at the words you've searched in the past and the kind of content you've engaged with and is designed to show you more of that same content because they know you're more likely to engage with it.
This creates a filter bubble, which means you constantly see only one perspective or viewpoint and you're not being shown anything else. The information is finding you! Change your information-seeking behavior and purposely look for other information or perspectives and aim for an overall look at your topic from multiple sources and voices.
Good information should link to, name, or cite their sources.
These can also be altered, taken out of context, or misrepresented.