Skip to Main Content

Evaluating Information: S.I.F.T. (The Four Moves)

Using Mike Caulfield's S.I.F.T. (Stop, Investigate, Find, & Trace) to evaluate sources online.

What is S.I.F.T.?

Whether you're scrolling through social media, checking out the latest news, or researching for a class assignment, it is important to make sure the information you encounter is from trusted, credible, and reliable sources, especially with information you encounter online. Chances are you were taught to move through a checklist of criteria when evaluating information online:

  • Is it a dot-com or dot-org?
  • Does the site incorporate advertisements? Are there spelling errors or typos?
  • Is it professionally designed?
  • Is the information current?
  • Are there citations to supporting evidence and research?

While sometimes useful, this checklist not enough because it relies on superficial markers of credibility and authority.

Instead of relying on these sort of checklists, consider using the S.I.F.T. method. S.I.F.T. is an acronym to help you remember four simple but effective steps you can take to help determine what information to keep and what information to toss. S.I.F.T. stands for: STOP, INVESTIGATE, FIND, and TRACE.

The SIFT method was created by Mike Caulfield. In the videos on this research guide, Mike Caulfield will walk you through each step of S.I.F.T.