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English 101 (College Writing) Research Guide: SIFT

SIFT Method

SIFT is a series of actions you can take to determine the validity and reliability of claims and sources on the web.

The SIFT method is quick, simple, and can be applied to various kinds of online content: news articles, scholarly articles, social media posts, videos, images, etc.

SIFT Infographic

Trusted Fact-Checking Websites

SIFT Moves


  • Do I know and trust the source of this info?
  • Is this source telling me what I want to hear?
  • Does it make me feel sad, angry, or afraid?
  • Don't share or use the source in your research until you know what it is, and you can verify it is reliable.


  • Who created this source -- e.g., a company, a government agency, a scholar, a journalist?
  • Are they an expert? Do they have an agenda? Are they trying to persuade me, sell me something, entertain, or educate?

Find trusted coverage

  • Do other sources back up the info I'm reading?
  • What if no other major news source is covering the claim I found?
  • Check debunking sites like Snopes and Politifact

Trace claims, quotes, media back to their original context

  • Does my source back up its claims with evidence and citations?
  • Click on references and links to other articles
  • Read a quote in its original context
  • Reverse Google Image search a photo or meme to find more information about it