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WRIT 1150 (Danylevich): Writing & Culture Seminar

Spring 2024

Introducing the SIFT Method

![Infographic showing the steps of SIFT: Stop, investigate the source, find trusted coverage, trace claims, quotes and media to the original context.](https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/secure.notion-static.com/e3662e32-fba3-4ede-a0a1-3158cac5438b/sift.png)  Infographic showing the steps of SIFT: Stop, investigate the source, find trusted coverage, trace claims, quotes and media to the original context.

SIFT is an evaluative method developed by Mike Caufield, a digital literacy expert, for evaluating online sources, particularly online news and social media posts. Before selecting a web source to use in your research or share on social media, use the following four moves to determine how reliable and valid its claims are. SIFT is a kind of lateral reading, which is a method of fact checking by looking at other sources for verification.

The four moves — Stop, Investigate the Source, Find Better Coverage, and Trace Claims, Quotes, and Media to the Original Context — will help you become a more savvy information user and choose higher quality sources. 

Below you'll find basic information and a brief, introductory video for each of the 4 moves.


1. STOP

  • Check your emotions.
  • Do you know and trust the author, website, or source of the information?
  • If not, use the fact-checking techniques below before determining whether to use the source.

2. INVESTIGATE THE SOURCE

  • Step away from the source.
  • Use other websites such as Wikipedia to learn more about the author and the source publication.
  • Consider whether the source has a particular bias.

3. FIND BETTER COVERAGE 

  • Focus on verifying the claim the source makes.
  • Seek out the best, most in-depth coverage of the information.
  • Use sources such as Google Scholar & Google News to find additional sources that corroborate or refute the claims made by the original source.

 


4. TRACE CLAIMS, QUOTES, & MEDIA TO THE ORIGINAL CONTEXT 

Source: Mike Caufield. SIFT: The Four Moves. https://hapgood.us/2019/06/19/sift-the-four-moves. License: CC BY 4.0.

For further information about SIFT, see the link above or take Caufield's three-hour online minicourse.

Checking Facts

Identifying Bias

Verifying Photos

The simplest way to find further information about an image is to right-click and select Search image with Google.

Image search menu while right clicking on an image

If you are unable to search by right clicking on the image, the following steps provide alternative ways of running the same search to do a reverse image look up.

1. Go to images.google.com.

2. Click the camera icon in the search bar

Google Images basic search

3. Search by uploading the image file or dragging and dropping it into the search box for Google Lens (see below) or paste the URL for the photo into the search box and click search.

Note: To find the URL for an image, right click (PC) or control + click (Mac) on an image and copy the image URL by clicking Copy Image Address (Chrome, Firefox, or Safari) or Copy Image Link (Edge).

Google Image search expanded search box

4. View results. Google Lens will then display other places where the same image has been used on the web. Pay attention for whether an image is being used out of context or to mislead readers.

Image results in Google Lens

5. To find the original image, click the link for Find Image Source at the top of the screen.

TinEye is an online tool for searching by image and finding where that image appears online.

Go to www.tineye.com

Upload the image or paste/enter the image URL in the search box. Click the magnifying glass icon to search.

Note: To find the URL for an image, right click (PC) or control + click (Mac) on an image and copy the image URL by clicking Copy Image Address (Chrome, Firefox, or Safari) or Copy Image Link (Edge)..

Screenshot of TinEye reverse image search screen

View results. Note: You can sort images by Oldest First to find the earliest instance of the image.

Results from TinEye image search

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