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WR 121: English Composition


Four quick moves to make when you're evaluating a source.

SIFT: Stop, Investigate the source, find better coverage, trace claims, quotes and media to the original context.

STOP a moment when you first visit a page or post. Do you know the website/source? What is its reputation? If you don’t know, try the moves below to get a sense of what you’re looking at. 

INVESTIGATE the source. You don't have to be exhaustive. Open a new tab and do some quick searches on the website, author or organization producing the information to determine whether the source credible and worth your time.

FIND a better source. If your investigation shows the source isn't so great, or you scan the source itself and it doesn't even seem worth investigating further, move on to finding a better source. 

TRACE claims, quotes and media to their original context. If the source makes a claim, quotes someone, or provides audio or video clips, try to find the original source. That lets you know if it's represented fairly and accurately. 

This was adapted from SIFT (The Four Moves) by Mike Caulfield and may be reused in accordance with the same license. 

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