This is a JavaScript menu. Please enable scripts in your browser. Skip to Main Content

Journalism: Find Websites

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.

Quick Tips for Assessing Source Credibility

  • Identify who’s behind the information-Who is the author/creator and publisher/disseminator of the information? Check for and scan the About section on the site and any parent sites as well as for information on the author(s).
  • What do others think of them?-Google the author/disseminator! What do sources that you recognize in the results (such as Wikipedia) have to say about them in terms of credibility and purpose (where do they fall on the ideological spectrum, how long have they been around, follow the money trail, etc.)
  • Track down original source material-Is a specific survey, study or set of statistics mentioned? Try to track down the original and come to your own conclusions: do not rely on second-hand interpretations!
  • Listen to your intuition-Does something just not sit right about the source? (Wording too pat or generic, claims that seem exaggerated, etc.). Check Google to see what other resources have to say about the issue, claim, etc.

Factchecking Resources

Articles of Interest

Chaffey College • 5885 Haven Avenue, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91737 - 3002 • 909/652-6000
 Powered by Springshare • LibApps LoginFeedbackBI SurveyLibrary Activities