Before utilizing an information source to inform your creative or scholarly practice, it's important to determine whether the source is credible.
Agents of mis- and disinformation are becoming increasingly sophisticated. It's an ethical imperative to evaluate your sources to ensure you're not participating in the spread of bad information.
SIFT is a shortlist of moves researchers can make when evaluating sources.
Image source: Check, Please
When you first encounter an piece of information, stop to ask yourself whether you trust its source. Don't use the source for your research if you aren't sure it's reliable.
If you find yourself overwhelmed or chasing after trails of obscure information, stop to remind yourself of your research goals and adjust your strategy as needed.
Know what you're reading before you read it. Investigate the author's credentials and consider whether the source may have a hidden agenda. For example, if a cryptocurrency company produces a video about the benefits of investing in Bitcoin, there's likely some bias baked in.
Taking a minute or two to find more information bout the source can save you a lot of time in the long run, and it will ensure your research is founded on good information.
If you're interested in an information source because of particular claim it's making, look for other trusted sources for relevant reporting or analysis. You can scan multiple sources or find one strong, authoritative alternative. This will allow you insight behind the context and history of the claim and ultimately deepen your research.
Often you'll encounter photos videos that have been edited to imbue them with new meaning, or quotes and other claims stripped of their context. In these cases, find the original source of the piece of information in question to check to see if it has been accurately represented.
Lateral reading is a method used to evaluate information sources you aren't sure about. If you don't know whether you can trust a website or article, turn to trusted sources to thoroughly investigate the questionable source.
Video source: Stanford Civic Online Reasoning