Evaluating your sources ensures that they are appropriate for the context in which you will use them and that they are reliable, which will support your work. It allows you to be credible as you engage in research and participate in the scholarly conversation in your field.
There are different methods and strategies - two are explained below - you can use to evaluate the information you find on the internet and in libraries, but there are three main questions you should ask yourself:
You should also monitor your emotional response to sources and check out why they make you feel a certain way: are they confirming, or confronting your pre-existing worldviews?
Lateral reading is looking at other sources to provide context for the source you are evaluating. For a website or webpage, this means opening new tabs in your browser to search for information about it, rather than simply looking at the design, the URL, and the "About" page of the site.
To evaluate a website, webpage, video, image, or social media post, you can see what the following sources say about it:
Take into account that many news organizations have their own perspective and even media fact-checking involves subjective judgments, it is a best practice to look at multiple sources.
The SIFT method was created by Mike Caulfield to help you determine if sources are credible. It is a mnemonic device that stands for Stop, Investigate the source, Find better coverage, Trace claims, quotes, and media back to their original context.
All SIFT information on this page is adapted from Mike Caulfield's materials with a CC BY 4.0 license.