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ECON 385: Economic Development

Evaluating Sources

SIFT is an acronym developed by Mike Caulfield (2019) that describes four steps you can use to evaluate sources. The four steps included in SIFT are:

  • S: Stop
  • I: Investigate the source
  • F: Find better coverage
  • T: Trace information back to the source

SIFT presents evaluation as a set of steps you can use and modify, rather than treating the evaluation process as a checklist of attributes that are universally good or bad. After all, you will want to evaluate the information in a newspaper article differently from the research you find in a peer-reviewed journal article. Sometimes you will need to navigate through all four of the steps in SIFT to determine a source’s usefulness and reliability, while other times you will only need one or two. What makes SIFT powerful is that it helps you engage with evaluation as an ongoing process. As the creator of SIFT explains, these steps don’t necessarily need to follow the same order every time.

Caulfield, M. (2020, January 1). The S in SIFT (1): Introduction and the S in SIFT. YouTube.

SIFT Visual