Evaluating Sources: SIFT Method

Determining if resources are credible is a challenging task.

We often ask “How can students get better at sorting truth from fiction from everything in between? How do we ensure they pay attention to the things that matter?”

‘SIFT’ is an internet search technique where students learn to identify credible sources and determine if the information they are consuming has an area of bias.

This year, we are rolling out the SIFT method so students can ‘google’ more effectively when completing projects. Amy Hollingsworth, Teacher Librarian, recently presented to some of our Year 8 Humanities & Social Science students on the SIFT method as they head into completing assignments.

Photo credit: Mike Caulfield, Washington State University

The four steps to the ‘SIFT’ method are:

1. Stop

It is important to ask whether you know and trust the author, publisher, publication, or website. If not, use the other fact-checking moves that follow to better understand what is being looked at. 

2. Investigate the source

Knowing the expertise and agenda of the person who created the source is crucial to our interpretation of the information provided. This will determine its significance and trustworthiness.

3. Find better coverage

If the original source is questionable, find a better source to determine accuracy of claim. Most big, true news stories get covered by multiple major news outlets.

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

By finding the original source of reporting or the photo in question, you can get a more complete picture of the issue or a research finding that is more accurate. The main aim here is to get to the point where the people doing the writing are the people verifying the facts.

Click here to learn more about the ‘SIFT’ internet search technique. 

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