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HIST 1301 - Larimore: The SIFT Method

This guide will help you with the Final Term Paper assignment.

Pre-Activity Quiz

Journalism Code of Ethics

Real news is written by real journalists who adhere to a code of ethics for reporting. One way to ensure that you get accurate news is to make sure your news is written by professional journalists rather than content creators from the general public. When in doubt about an author, Google them and find out more.

The Society for Professional Journalists Code of Ethics outlines that journalists should:

  • Seek truth and report it
  • Minimize harm
  • Act independently
  • Be accountable and transparent

For a full description click here: SPJ Code of Ethics

Fact-Checking Websites

SIFT to find Quality Sources Online

Use the SIFT skills employed by many fact checkers to determine if a news source or claim is factual and trustworthy. Simply put the SIFT skills are:

S Stop! Do NOT read the source you just found, instead:
I Investigate the source. Use Google, Fact Checking Websites and/or Wikipedia to find out more about the source of information. Good fact checking websites include, and AP Fact Checker.
F Find the original source. If the source you found seems to be quoting from another article or other source, find the original source of information to confirm facts and investigate the original source.
T Look for Trusted sources. Build a library in your mind of sources you have found to be trustworthy. When you see a claim online, you can Google the claim and add the name of one of your trusted sources to see if they have covered the same story. Fact checking websites like Snopes are great sources of trustworthy information because of the amount of research they do to verify a story.


Reverse Image Search 

If you have questions about veracity of an image or video you can use Google Image Search ( 

1. Grab the URL for the photo that you are curious about, or download it to your computer. If using Google Chrome browser, you can right click and select "Search Google for Image"

2. Go to Google Images and click on the Camera Icon.

Google images search with camera icon circled

3. Paste the URL or upload your image.

Google images with search by image menu activated

4. See the results to find the original source, or what the web is saying about the images. This can also be done with screenshots from videos.

SIFT method was developed by Mike Caulfield based on the skills used by professionals used by fact-checkers

Avoiding Fake News Guide

SIFT Video Playlist

Faculty Librarian

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Jeremy Donald
Faculty Librarian/Associate Professor
Northridge Campus Library Rm 1220.1
11928 Stonehollow Dr.
Austin, TX 78758

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