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PSYC-295 Child Development (Anselmi)

Fall 2022

"SIFT"

Take a moment to read about SIFT and the Four Moves. In this section we’ll demonstrate these strategies with a sample website. In the following section you’ll apply these strategies to evaluating a website.

SIFT: Moves for Web Evaluation

SIFT is a helpful acronym for initially evaluating source credibility. SIFT (from Mike Caulfield) stands for:

  • STOP. Pause.
    Ask yourself if you recognize the information source and if you know anything about the website or the claim's reputation. If not, use the “four moves” (described below) to learn more. If you start getting overwhelmed during the other moves, pause and remember your original purpose.
    Also take note if you have a strong reaction to the information you see (e.g., joy, pride, anger). If so, slow down before you share or use that information. We tend to react quickly and with less thought to things that evoke strong feelings. By pausing, you give your brain time to process your initial response and to analyze the information more critically. 
  • INVESTIGATE the source.
    Take a minute to identify where this information comes from and to consider the creator's expertise and agenda. If the creator appears untrustworthy, the source may not be worth your time. Look at what others have said about the source to help with your evaluation. (See the "Four Moves" below for more on investigating sources.)
    (For example, a company that sells health food products is not the best source for information about health benefits/risks of consuming coconut oil. A research study funded by a pharmaceutical company is also suspect.)
  • FIND trusted coverage.
    Sometimes it's less important to know about the source itself and more important to assess its claims. Look for credible sources, and compare information across sources in order to determine whether there appears to be a consensus.
    (Again, use the Four Moves described below to identify trusted coverage.)
  • TRACE claims, quotes, and media back to the original context.
    Sometimes online information has been removed from its original context (for example, a news story is reported on in another online publication or an image is shared on Twitter). If needed, trace the information back to the original source in order to recontextualize it.

Modified from Mike Caulfield's SIFT (Four Moves), which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Later, when you determine that a source is worth your time, you can analyze the source's content more carefully.