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BIOL-40 Scientific Literature Lab

Assessing Information-The SIFT Method




Who's responsible for the information? Who created, is disseminating, responsible for it? And do you recognize the source? If so, do you trust it? If the answer is no or you're unsure, consider some of the below strategies....

Investigate the Source

What do others have to say about the source? (Hint: Try scanning the Wikipedia article on the source, if there is one) Look for surprises, particularly that deviate from your initial impression! Take a look at video that covers how to factchecking efficiently and effectively by "reading vertically":

Find Better Coverage

If you're unsure about a source and especially if it is making a claim that you want to use or share, investigate if other sources that you trust more are also making the claim. The following video covers strategies for finding better coverage of a claim:

Trace Claims, Quotes & Media to the Original Context

Context is critical when it comes to information claims. And information changes as it gets passed along and shared, sometimes unintentional, sometimes deliberate. So, consider tracing the claim back to its original source and context. Take a look at the following video that covers tips for "going upstream" and finding the original context:

The above is adapted from "The SIFT Method"Introduction to College Research by Walter D. Butler; Aloha Sargent; and Kelsey Smith, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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