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SIFT - A Method for Evaluating Online Information: T- Trace Claims, Quotes, and Media Back to their Original Context

The fourth move realigns.


Trace Claims, Quotes and Media Back to the Original Source. 

A lot of things you encounter online have been stripped of context. This could be due to inaccurate or misleading re-reporting, edited sound and video, images being shared with inaccurate captions, etc.

In some cases, stories or claims can get better as they pass through intermediaries. However, in most cases the more a story circulates, the more it becomes warped and you’re presented with a radically wrong version of an event or piece of research. This is when you investigate further and start tracing back to the original source for full context.

You realign the content you've found with its initial intent.

Online Verification Skills

Here is a video (1:34) on finding the original source.

Finding the History of Images

Here is a video (4:14) on finding original images and verifying caption claims. 


Note: This SIFT method guide was adapted from the Wayne State University Library SIFT LibGuide which can be found at and Michael Caulfield's "Check, Please!" course. The canonical version of this course exists at The text and media of this site, where possible, is released into the CC-BY, and free for reuse and revision. We ask people copying this course to leave this note intact, so that students and teachers can find their way back to the original (periodically updated) version if necessary. We also ask librarians and reporters to consider linking to the canonical version.

As the authors of the original version have not reviewed any other copy's modifications, the text of any site not arrived at through the above link should not be sourced to the original authors.