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SIFT (four moves to evaluate information sources): The SIFT process

SIFT (The Four Moves)


Before you use or share a piece of information, 


When you first begin reading or viewing a news story, a cartoon, or a video, pause for a moment to consider the source.

  • What is the purpose of the website or the publisher of the information?
  • Did this come from an authoritative source?
  • Is the information noticeably biased?
  • Does this information seem designed to make you feel anxious or angry?

Don't use or share a piece of information until you are sure it's accurate.


If you aren't sure about the source of the information,


Do some quick searches to learn more. 

  • What is the author's background or experience?
  • Who is the publisher, and what is the purpose of the site?
  • "Follow the money": who provides monetary support for this site?

Hovering is another technique to learn more about who is sharing information, especially on social media platforms, such as Twitter or TikTok.

If you know why this information was published, you'll have a better idea about how reliable it is.


Look for coverage of the information in a different source


Accurate and reliable information can be found in multiple sources.

  • Are other authoritative sources reporting the same information or story?
  • Is there more to the story than what you saw in your original source?
  • Are there reliable sources that dispute or disagree with this information?

Beware of information that is only part of the overall story. For example a speech can be misrepresented by leaving out some of what was actually said. If you can't find the information reported anywhere else, you probably shouldn't trust it.


Whenever possible, find the original source of the information


The most accurate information comes from the original source rather than someone's description.

  • Are you reading someone's summary of the meaning of a speech or event, or is this first hand information?
  • Is this an interpretation of data or do you have the original reported data?
  • Have portions of a document been used without providing context or the full text?

The best information comes from the original source. Read the full speech or document for yourself instead of trusting another person's interpretation or summary.