Chapter 7: Evaluating Sources with SIFT

In this chapter, you will learn how to analyze and evaluate online sources.

Learning Objectives:

  • Evaluate sources for relevance and credibility using the SIFT model.
  • Read laterally to compare sources and evidence.
  • Verify information using fact checking resources.

ACRL Frame Alignment:

The Importance of Evaluating Information Online

In our online world, there is seemingly no end to the amount of information we can access. From blog posts to news sites and TikTok to research studies, there is an abundance of opinions, media, articles, advertisements, and the list goes on and on. However, as we know, not all information is factual and not all sources are reputable. It can be difficult to evaluate what we read and see online.  An important part of rhetorical research is evaluating the sources and information that we find through our research and making a conscious, purposeful decision to include or exclude particular sources in our final research product. As rhetorical researchers, we should ask ourselves why we are choosing to use a particular source as evidence to support an argument, to make a decision, or to form an opinion.  There is so much information available through the library and through the web…why this source??

In this chapter, you will learn about SIFT, a model and process to follow that can help you evaluate information online.

The SIFT Model for Evaluating Information

SIFT  is a 4 step process created by Mike Caulfield, a digital literacy expert, that we can use to critically analyze and evaluate information. SIFT stands for:

  1. Stop
  2. Investigate the source
  3. Find better coverage
  4. Trace the claim back to the original source

You’ll learn more about each step on the following pages.



SIFT graphic is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License


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