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Evaluating Online Information

Introduction

In our current environment, it has become increasingly more important to learn how to sort through the information you find online, and develop efficient strategies for determining if claims are problematic or if they are valid. 

The goal of this guide is to provide you with methods for evaluating online sources, including how to analyze the reliability and trustworthiness of sources and claimsThis guide is mostly focused on non-academic sources (the ones you are most likely to find via web searches and social media), though there are some tips for evaluating academic sources found on the web, as well.


Resources and Credits:

The information in this section is based on Mike Caulfield’s Web Literacy for Student Fact Checkers and his online course. You are highly encouraged to check out both of these resources!

How to Critically Evaluate Online Sources: SIFT Method

One method for quickly evaluating online content is the SIFT Method (introduced by Mike Caulfield). The steps are:

STOP before you read the article 

INVESTIGATE the source

FIND trusted coverage of the topic

TRACE claims to their original context. 

Practicing these habits can help you avoid common pitfalls like confirmation bias (only looking at information that aligns with your existing viewpoint) and relying on the source itself to evaluate its trustworthiness. 

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