The SIFT Method was developed by University of Washington research scientist and instructor Mike Caulfield. SIFT stands for:
Wayne State University Libraries produced a short video going through the SIFT Method.
In addition to practicing the SIFT method, it is highly recommended to get in the habit of checking your emotions while verifying claims on the internet.
Misinformation relies heavily on exploiting our emotions in order to spread. Stories and videos that elicit a strong emotional response (happiness, awe, anger, vindication, etc.) are the ones that tend to go viral.
If you feel a strong emotional reaction upon seeing a post and feel compelled to share a "fact" with others or use it as a source for a paper, STOP. Are you choosing/sharing the source because you have strong feelings about its content? If so, it is even more important to investigate the source to verify its reliability.
Lateral reading refers to the act of searching beyond a web page. Before investing your time in a web source, use the tabs across the top of your web browser to perform various web searches to investigate the author and organization, verify details and information, and assess the credibility of the source by gaining additional context.
Here are some examples of ways you might search laterally:
Click restraint refers to examining the URLs and website descriptions to determine whether a source is relevant, rather than simply clicking on the first link in the search results. This is an important skill to practice, as the first few links on the first page of search results are often advertisements.