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Evaluating Resources

Four Moves of Fact Checkers

There are numerous ways to "SIFT" (as described above). These "four moves" from Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers will help you "SIFT." 

When you first come across a web source, do a quick initial assessment, much like a fact-checker does. Fact-checkers don't spend too much time on a website; instead they quickly leave that site to see what others have said about the site.

  • "Check for previous work.": Has someone already fact-checked the claim or analyzed the research?
    (Search the Internet for other coverage on the claim. Consider where that coverage comes from.)
  • "Go upstream to the source.": Is this the original source of the information, or is this a re-publication or an interpretation of previously published work? Are you examining the original source? If not, trace back to it.
  • "Read laterally.": What are others have saying about the original source and about its claim?
    • newyorktimes.com site: -newyorktimes.com
    • minimumwage.com site: -minimumwage.com
       (For example, get other information about a website from other sources by searching Google for [WEBSITE URL] site: -[WEBSITE URL
  • "Circle back.": If you hit a dead road, what other search terms or strategies might lead you to the information that you need? 

(Adapted from “Four Moves,” Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers, Mike Caulfield)

 Evaluating Online Sources: A Toolkit Source: Rowan University CC-BY-NC-SA