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Digital Citizenship Workshop Series

S.I.F.T. Method

Stop, Investigate, Find, Trace



Do you know the website or source of information? Start with a plan. Check your bearings and consider what you want to know and your purpose. Usually, a quick check is enough. Sometimes you'll want a deep investigation to verify all claims made and check all the sources.

Investigate the source

Know the expertise and agenda of your source so you can interpret it. Look up your source in Wikipedia. Consider what other sites say about your source. A fact checking site may help. Read carefully and consider while you click. Open multiple tabs.

Find better coverage

Find trusted reporting or analysis, look for the best information on a topic, or scan multiple sources to see what consensus is. Find something more in-depth and read about more viewpoints. Look beyond the first few results, use Ctrl + F, and consider the URL. Even if you don't agree with the consensus, it will help you investigate further.

Trace claims, quotes, and media back to the original context

Trace claims, quotes and media back to the source. What was clipped out of a story/photo/video and what happened before or after? When you read the research paper mentioned in a news story, was it accurately reported? Find the original source to see the context, so you can decide if the version you have is accurately presented.

- from Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers by Mike Caulfield 


The S.I.F.T. Method (Lateral Reading)

(3:13 minutes)

(2:44 minutes)

(1:33 minutes)

(4:10 minutes)

How to Find Better Information Online: Click Restraint

(2:19 minutes)