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SIFT: Stop, Investigate, Find, Trace: Resources for Instructors

Incorporating SIFT into your Canvas course

Questions for Reflection

Questions for reflection are located within the SIFT Discussion links in the Exercise boxes of each page in this guide.

For example, if you go to the Investigate the Source page of this guide and click on one of the SIFT Discussion links, you will see at the bottom of that page there is a dropdown labeled Questions for Reflection for after the student has finished the prompt.

These questions can be utilized for class discussions, discussion posts. They are not meant to be a part of the notebook, but can be. 

Political Bias

Some instructors may want to incorporate information on political bias into their information literacy courses. Below are resources that might be useful. 

AllSides: News website that presents reporting from multiple sources. 

"We expose people to information and ideas from all sides of the political spectrum so they can better understand the world — and each other. Our balanced news coverage, media bias ratings, civil dialogue opportunities, and technology platform are available for everyone and can be integrated by schools, nonprofits, media companies, and more."

Pew Research Center, Political Polarization: Survey data. 

"Political polarization – the vast and growing gap between liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats – is a defining feature of American politics today, and one the Pew Research Center has documented for many years."

Wall Street Journal - Blue Feed, Red Feed: Seeing liberal and conservative Facebook, side by side. 

“To demonstrate how reality may differ for different Facebook users, The Wall Street Journal created two feeds, one “blue” and the other “red.” … These aren't intended to resemble actual individual news feeds. Instead, they are rare side-by-side looks at real conversations from different perspectives.”

Fact Checking Websites

Snopes

"The oldest and largest fact-checking site online, widely regarded by journalists, folklorists, and readers as an invaluable research companion."

PolitiFact

“Fact-checking journalism is the heart of PolitiFact. Our core principles are independence, transparency, fairness, thorough reporting and clear writing. The reason we publish is to give citizens the information they need to govern themselves in a democracy."

FactCheck.org

“We are a nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. We monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases.”

FlackCheck.org

“Headquartered at the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, FlackCheck.org is the political literacy companion site to the award-winning FactCheck.org. The site provides resources designed to help viewers recognize flaws in arguments in general and political ads in particular. Video resources point out deception and incivility in political rhetoric.”

OpenSecrets

"Nonpartisan, independent and nonprofit, the Center for Responsive Politics is the nation's premier research group tracking money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and public policy."

Notebook

Instructors that want to integrate SIFT for their information literacy course material can ask students to keep a notebook of fact-checking exercises in a text editor or a word processor like Notepad, Google Docs, or Microsoft Word.

Instructors can ask students to submit the contents of their fact-checking notebook for grading or feedback. The notebooks can also be shared and compared with other peers.

Notebook Format

The format of the notebook is simple. For each fact-checking prompt, students will be given a heading. After that, they can complete the following steps:

  • Write the heading in the document in all capital letters
  • Hit enter and answer the questions on the prompt page
  • Formatting is up to the instructor but should be encouraged to be kept simple

Example:

Prompt and Discussion links are located toward the bottom right of the Investigate the Source, Find Better Coverage, and Trace Claims Quotes and Media Back to Their Original Context pages of this guide.

Additional Prompts

Additional Exercise Prompts 

The link above goes to additional prompts that can be used for notebook exercises. 

Note: These prompts are SIFT related, but are not sorted in any particular order. 

Further Reading

In some of the SIFT pages within this guide, there are “Further Reading” links to articles, blogs, and other information sources. Instructors can share these readings with students to explore some of the topics more fully.

The readings there present a wide range of viewpoints, some of which are conflicting. Some articles are used to educate students on specific issues. Others are meant to provoke discussion, or raise important larger issues.

Here is an example op-ed article from the New York Times that discusses Michael Caulfield's SIFT strategy and the importance of new web evaluation skills in our modern era of information consumption: Don't Go Down the Rabbit Hole

Acknowledgement

Note: This SIFT method guide was adapted from Michael Caulfield's "Check, Please!" course. The canonical version of this course exists at http://lessons.checkplease.cc. 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.