Skip to Main Content
Skip to main content

Agriculture and Bioresources 492/494: Tutorials for Finding and Evaluating Information Sources

This guide contains two modules designed to assist 492/494 AgBio students in contributing to the scholarly conversation in their fields, and finding and retrieving relevant and credible information.

Evaluating Online Sources - The SIFT Method

With so much information online, how are you supposed to sift through it all to find the good stuff? Aha, this question just answered its own question: The SIFT method provides a short list of things to do when evaluating a source.1

Navigating Online Information

On the internet, it can be difficult to distinguish credible information sources from false or misleading sources. SIFT is the acronym for a set of techniques that will become second nature when initially looking for sources. Using the SIFT method will help develop an internal dialogue when searching. In fact, you could already be doing this. This is an important skill to develop because it has real-world applicability beyond University - for life and the world you live in.

Image Source: The Library at Western Academy of Beijing

Adapted from M. Caulfield's blog1, Hapgood, SIFT (The Four Moves), June 2019

Evaluating Online Sources - Lateral Reading

Lateral reading is part of the SIFT process and it's a technique used by fact-checkers. Lateral reading involves stepping outside of the website you are looking at and investigating what you are reading at the same time you are reading it. This video explains lateral reading.

Source: Lateral Reading by UofL Research Assistance & Instruction licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0


SIFT Activity

What does SIFT look like? In the following pdf, you can get an idea of how the SIFT process works as you will be taken through this article from VICE: Big Meat Is Selling Veggie Burgers—But It's Still Destroying the Environment (September 25 2020)

Check out the SIFT process in action:

Visit these webpages and use the SIFT techniques to practice quickly evaluating web sources.