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WRT 101/102 - M. Young : SIFT Method

The S.I.F.T. Method - Online Verification Skills (Mike Caufield)

SIFTing is a form of Lateral Reading


Mike Caulfield, Washington State University digital literacy expert, has helpfully condensed key fact-checking strategies into a short list of four moves, or things to do to quickly make a decision about whether or not a source is worthy of your attention. It is referred to as the “SIFT” method:

SIFT Method (Stop, Investigate, Find the original source, use Trusted source)                        

Video: Introductory Video

       SIFT icon for "stop" shows hand over stop sign



  • Before you read the entire article, stop!
  • Before you share the video, stop!
  • Before you act on a strong emotional response to a headline, stop!
  • Ask yourself: Do I know this website? Do I know this information source? Do I know it's reputation?
  • Before moving forward, use the other three moves: Investigate the Source, Find Better Coverage, and Trace Claims, Quotes, and Media back to the Original Context.

-Clark College Libraries

Video: Investigate the Source

       SIFT icon for "Investigate" shows a magnifying glass

         Investigate the Source


  • Use Google or Wikipedia to investigate a news organization or other resource.
  • Hovering is another technique to learn more about who is sharing information, especially on social media platforms such as Twitter.
    Clark College Libraries

Video: Find the Original

SIFT icon for Trace Claims shows 3 dots narrowing down to one dot
FIND the original source


Video: Look for Trusted Work

      SIFT icon for Find Better Coverage shows a check mark             use Trusted sources


  • Click through to follow links to claims
  • Open up the original reporting sources listed in a bibliography if present
  • Look at the original context. Was the claim, quote, or media fairly represented?
    Clark College Libraries

Creative Commons License


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This LibGuide page adapted from Introduction to College Research by Walter D. Butler; Aloha Sargent; and Kelsey Smith, and from Hapgood.US. Both are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted. Free to Share (copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format) and Adapt (remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially). We thank the authors for their generosity of freely sharing cultural material.

HANDOUT from University of Oregon