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Information Evaluation: What is the SIFT Method?

What is the SIFT Method?

The SIFT Method is a series of actions one can take in order to determine the validity and reliability of claims and sources on the web. Each letter in “SIFT” corresponds to one of the “Four Moves":

Images representing each of the 4 moves in SIFT

When practiced, SIFT reveals the necessary context to read, view, or listen effectively before reading an article or other information online.

  • We learn about the author, speaker, or publisher: What’s their expertise? Their agenda? Their record of fairness or accuracy?
  • We check on claims: Are they broadly accepted? Rejected? Something in-between?
  • We don’t take evidence at face value. Is it presented in its original context, or with a certain frame that changes its meaning for the reader or viewer?

Listen to Mike Caulfield, the man who created the SIFT Method, in the short video below (1:30) as he explains why developing our online evaluation skills are more important now than ever before:

Keep reading as we work our way through each of the Four Moves in detail. Click here to start with Move One, or, use the buttons at the bottom of this guide to move ahead.


The SIFT Method portion of this guide was adapted from "Check, Please!" (Caulfield). The canonical version of Check, Please! exists at (CC-BY). As the authors of the original version have not reviewed any other copy's modifications, the text of any site not arrived at through the above link should not be sourced to the original authors. 

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