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Evaluating Online Information

This guide will provide opportunities for viewers to work through the various techniques and steps of evaluating online information such as things found on websites and social media.


Many people are familiar with the CRAAP test which has been used since 2004 to help students remember things to look for when evaluating resources.  The letters of the acronym stand for currency, relevance, authority, accuracy and purpose. Because CRAAP was geared more toward physical resources, it can be difficult to use it to evaluate online or web resources such as things posted on social media.

In 2019, Mike Caulfield came up with SIFT, which was created with the Internet in mind. SIFT is an acronym that helps people remember what to do when coming across questionable material or claims.  Use SIFT to evaluate online resources or things found on social media.The bullet points below explain what each letter stands for.

  • S stands for stop.  When you see something questionable on social media or on a website, stop and take a minute to think things through.  Decide if you need more information.  If you decide you really don't know enough about what you are seeing or reading to know if it's true or trustworthy, move through the rest letters of the acronym, I, F and T.
  • I stands for investigate the source.  Do this by reading laterally. 
  • F stands for find better coverage.  Do this reading laterally.
  • T stands for trace claims, quotes and media back to the original context.  Do this by reading laterally.



Graphic representation of the SIFT method

SIFT graphic by Mike Caulfield licensed under CC BY 4.0

Learn More About The SIFT Method

Watch this short video to learn how to investigate the source.
Watch this short video to learn how to find better coverage.
Watch this short video to learn how to find the original source.
Watch this short video to learn about ways to look for trusted work.