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UNIV 1302 - Where I'm Going Essay (Weller)

SIFT (The Four Moves)

Mike Caulfield suggests four moves to help you navigate through information online.

  1. Stop
    1. Do you know this website or source? What is their reputation?
  2. Investigate the source
    1. The easiest way to know more about the source is to open up another tab and search for it! Wikipedia is your friend here.
  3. Find better coverage
    1. Search the internet for the claim. Do multiple news sites seem to report the same basic information? Are there fact-checking sites that discuss this claim?
  4. Trace claims, quotes and media to the original context
    1. Search the internet for any quotes and/or media. Can you find it in its original context? Was the version you were first looking at accurately presented?

Source: Mike Caulfield, SIFT (The Four Moves)

Check for Previous Fact Checking Work

If you've ever tried to fact check an article yourself, you know that it can be a LOT of work. The good thing is is that there are places online that are solely devoted to fact checking!

Go Upstream for the Source

You can always fact check an article yourself by following the sources the article cites. Follow the hyperlinks in the article to see where they lead. Here are some tips for following links:

  • Do they link to other sites, research articles, newspaper stories, etc.? A lot of times authors will fill their article's with hyperlinks to make it look like they are citing, when in fact, all the links lead back to a different article the same site published!
  • Ideally, when you are follow links you want to end up at the original source of the claim. Depending on the claim that could be something like the original newspaper article or a scholarly research article.

Read Laterally

In other words, read other articles about this same topic and read about the site that published the information.

  • Do other sources have the same information or is there conflicting information? It's always better to look at how multiple sources report an event and/or information.
  • Look up the site itself. Is it a known fake news site? Are other sources critical of the sites publishing practices?