Which is True and which is False? The SIFT Method

What is the SIFT method?

The SIFT method is a way of determining whether or not a source is reliable and trustworthy. The method consists of four steps to analyze a source’s integrity:

  • Stop: Stop to think about what you’re looking at and don’t share it around if you aren’t sure about it
  • Investigate the Source: Check to see what other websites say about the site you’re looking at
  • Find Better Coverage: Are other sites making the same claim?
  • Trace Claims, Quotes, and Media: Where is this article getting its information from? Is the origin of the information trustworthy?

Article 1: FALSE

The article entitled “DeSantis: Medical Elites ‘Were Wrong About Efficacy of mRNA Vaccines’” is false. Let’s break it down:

Stop:

Pausing to review the article at first glance shows the foundation for the article is based on what a politician says about vaccines, not a medical professional. Therefore, the reliability of the article should be questioned for further investigation.

Investigate the Source:

When looking up the article’s platform “InfoWars” it instantly results in other news outlets and fact-checking websites, such as PolitiFact, commenting on how it is a far-right conspiracy-oriented platform run by Alex Jones.

Finding Better Coverage:

When looking up if the medical field is in fact incorrect about the COVID-19 vaccine, I got a bunch of articles about how doctors and politicians have been making false claims and spreading misinformation about the vaccine.

Trace Claims:

If we trace the sources in the article back, they are other right-leaning sources such as stating that COVID boosters cause complications but the credit to this claim leads to the Epoch Times. Or sourcing things to another InfoWars article.

Article 2: TRUE

The article entitled “The new COVID booster could be the last you’ll need for a year, federal officials say” is true. Let’s break it down:

Stop:

When first viewing this article, the title does not conclusively state anything as factual, using words such as “could” instead of “will.” They also mention that federal officials are stating this. While the article still should be investigated, it is already looking as though it may be reliable.

Investigate the Source:

When looking up NPR, the source of the article, what mainly comes up are other websites claiming how NPR is one of the most trusted news sources in the U.S. and it is mentioned how the site is legitimate, neutral, and truthful.

Finding Better Coverage:

There are other news outlets mentioning that there might only be a need for COVID vaccines once a year from reputable sites such as CNN and the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. However, there isn’t too much coverage since these articles were published 6 days ago.

Trace Claims:

If we trace the source of this article back, it leads to the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition page with Ashish Jha, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator, and how he has discussed the potential for there to only be an annual COVID vaccine in the following years.

Who is the Internet for?

The internet is open to everyone and is for everyone, regardless of who that person may be. Even those who may not have personal access to a device that works with the internet could go to a place such as a library in order to use the internet.

This image displays a man sitting at his desk. He is happily looking at his desktop computer. There are small bubbles above the computer showing what the internet can be used for such as music, games, messaging, etc.

Openness

Why?

What it means to create something that is “open” is it has the ability to take in contributions from people anywhere and at any time. For instance, people that contribute to the internet’s data help in its improvement and advances. The benefits of leaving a project open are that you can get more data and assistance without even asking for it. There’s a constant flow of information to help the system.

How?

How the internet is open is in the way it can connect people through various mediums such as social media, links, webpages, etc. People can share media with each other using the internet making it open.

Accessibility

Why?

Making something “accessible” means that everyone is able to use a product or media with ease. You would want to make something accessible due to moral, legal, and business reasons.

How?

How you make the internet more accessible is by using closed captioning, larger fonts, breaking up text into subsections, using hyperlinks, having a text-to-speech reader, etc. There are many different tools nowadays to ensure that electronic media is able to be consumed by anyone regardless of disability.

Additional Resources

One resource I recommend to learn more about how to be accessible online is this article by Interaction Design Foundation titled “3 Reasons Why Accessible Design Is Good for All.”

Eliza

Hello! My name is Eliza (she/her). I am a junior here at UMW. I am a historic preservation major and recently re-declared my minor in digital studies after realizing I didn’t have as strong of a passion for museum studies as I thought. I try to be relatively involved on campus and am currently vice president of Talk to the Hands, our ASL club, and an officer of the Historic Preservation club (which you guys should join either or if you’re interested). This summer I took my first trip to Europe with my mom, so the photo I’ve added to this is me in front of the Atomium in Brussels, Belgium.

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