Anytime we look for information, for school or in our daily lives, we make choices about what resources we decide to use and trust. Since the information that we trust helps us build our worldview, it is important to have an objective way of evaluating what we read.
Below are two methods you can use, the SIFT method and the CRAP Test.
What is a credible/trustworthy source online? How can we tell? All of us ask these questions. The truth is we have to evaluate everything we look at to determine if we can trust it, especially websites.
The good news is using the SIFT method and other clues can help you decide.
If a claim causes strong emotions — anger, glee, pride, vindication — and that emotion causes you to share a “fact” with others, STOP. You must fact-check this claim. In addition, if you get lost, or hit dead ends, or find yourself going down an increasingly confusing rabbit hole during your investigation, STOP. Back up and start over knowing what you know now. You’re likely to take a more informed path with different search terms and better decisions.
Read what other people say about the source (publication, author, etc.). The truth is in the network.
Look around to see if someone else has already fact-checked the claim or provided a synthesis of research or provided coverage that gives more useful information about the claim or the context of the claim.
Most web content is not original. Get to the original source to understand the trustworthiness of the information.
There are many things to think about when looking for a credible website.
Some instructors might use the CRAP test (Where you search for Currency, Reliability/Relevance, Authority/Author, and Purpose).
Let's review each of these elements as you should use them to evaluate each source for your paper.
Here's a worksheet to help with evaluating resources.