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ANT 2000H (Laguer Diaz): Evaluating Sources

A guide for students completing a research assignment in Dr. Laguer Diaz' Introductory Anthropology - Honors class.

Authority 101

AUTHORITY has to do with the expertise of the person or group responsible for producing or publishing information. Depending on the context, authority can involve the author or publisher's level of education on the topic, level of experience or proximity to the topic.

The SIFT Method

The SIFT method for evaluating information online includes four moves:

  • STOP.
    Ask yourself what you know about the source of the information.
    Consider your own biases about the topic.
    Determine the source of the information and Google the source to learn about its trustworthiness.
    Notice what site the information comes from (visit the homepage or click About Us if you're not sure.) 
    Then do a quick search to find out this site's expertise and agenda.
    Compare information from other, more trusted or more varied sources.
    Try to find the BEST sources on the topic.
    Visit multiple sources to understand how experts agree and disagree on the topic.
    Information is often taken out of context. Find and read the original source to be sure the information was accurately presented.

The SIFT Method: Stop, Investigate the Source, Find Better Coverage, Trace Claims, Quotes and Media to the Original Context

The idea of SIFT comes from Mike Caulfield and is reused here under  a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License  Creative Commons License.

Website Evaluation Rubric

Download and use the rubric below to guide your thinking as you evaluate websites.

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