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Research skills

Evaluating your resources

When you search and select your information for online and academic resources,  you need to consider

  • the accuracy,
  • the relevance and
  • the timeliness of the information

by applying the method and test of 

  • SIFT methods for online sources
  • CRAAP Test - for academic research

Evaluating methods

SIFT (The four moves)

SIFT method was created by Mike Caulfield, a research scientist at the University of Washington’s Center for an Informed Public. The method aims to

  • help researchers how to evaluate online information 
  • combat evolving misinfomation threats and concerns in digital news and online media in four moves. 

This material has been adapted and reused under a CC BY 4.0 license.


     Pause and consider before continuing.

  • Do you know this site?
  • Consider its reputation
  • What is your information goal?

  Investigate the source

              Look into the source and author.

  • What is the purpose of the source?
  • What can you find about the site and/or the author?

   Find  better coverage

    Check for alternative sources and viewpoints.

  • Can you find similar coverage?
  • Are there more reputable and/or in-depth sources available?

  Trace claims, quotes and media to the          original  context

  • Can you find the original source?
  • Does the information match?
  • How does it differ?

SIFT method explained

Online Verification Skills - Video 1: Introductory Video

Video 2: Investigate the source | Video 3: Find the original source | Video 4: Look for trusted work


The CRAAP Test was originally developed by Sarah Blakeslee of the University of California at Chico's Meriam Library. It is a way to evaluate any type of information, including websites. This material has been adapted and reused under a CC BY 4.0 license.


Timeliness of the information

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Does your topic require current information, or older sources can be used/needed?
  • If using the Web, are the links functional, i.e no broken links?

 The importance of the information for your needs

  • Does the source meets your information needs or answer your questions?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information too simple or advanced for your assessment?
  • Have you looked at the different sources before deciding which one you will use? 

The source of information

  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • Is the source reputable, such as author's credentials or organisational affiliations?
  • Is there contact information, such as publisher or email address?
  • Are there any evidence presented to support the argument, such as references, tables of results or graphs?
  • If using the Web sources, does the URL reveal anything about the author or source.

Examples:  .com .edu .gov .org .net


The reliability, truthfulness of the source/information

  • Where does the information come from?
  • Has the evidence been reviewed or refereed?
  • Is the information supported by evidence, such as research papers, reports?
  • Does the language seem unbiased and free of emotion?
  • Are there any spelling, grammar or typing errors?

The reason the source/information was created

  • What is the purpose of the source/information, such as to inform, teach, persuade or influence?
  • Do the authors make their purpose or intentions clear?
  • Is the information fact, opinion or propaganda?
  • Is the point of view objective or biased?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional or personal biases?