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Evaluating Information: Evaluating Information

Resources for evaluating information to determine its reliability

The SIFT Method

  • Stop!
  • Investigate the source
  • Find trusted coverage
  • Trace quotes and media to original source

The acronym SIFT reminds you to stop to evaluate if the site is reliable - are you familiar with the source? Are they generally reputable (The New York TimesVogue, etc.)? If you aren't sure if the source is reliable, investigate the sourceWho is the author? What are their credentials? Next, find trusted coverageSee if other sites are sharing the same information and if it represents a consensus viewpoint. Finally, trace claims, quotes, and media back to the original. This is important because information can be taken out of context and used in ways the original source did not intend (for help tracing images back to their source, see the "Evaluating Images" tab to the left).

Information from Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers by Mike Caulfield.

Confirmation Bias

If you have opinions about what you're researching, you're more likely to seek out sources that confirm your existing views on the topic.

It's important to keep your biases in mind when you are looking for information. Explicit bias relates to beliefs that you consciously hold; implicit bias is about unconscious beliefs. Everyone has implicit biases, but being aware of them is the first step to fighting bias. Uncover your implicit biases with quizzes from Harvard's Project Implicit.

How to Detect Bias in News Media - Designed specifically for evaluating bias in news sources but also applicable to other types of websites, this site suggests things to consider when looking at a website.

Website Reliability

Not just for fake news, the graphic below provides the steps for evaluating information on any website (click to enlarge).

Graphic from International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA).

 

"Unhate" campaign, Fabrica, Treviso, Italy and 72andSunny, Amsterdam for the Unhate Foundation
College for Creative Studies website