The Four Moves: SIFTing Through the Internet

How can anyone be expected to tell truth from fiction (or as Gen Z says, cap or no cap) in our hyper connected world?

Here are four moves you can make to help you determine whether something credible or not on the internet.

The Four Moves-- the SIFT method. See text below for the text in the image. Adapted from

The Four Moves, or The SIFT Method: Using the SIFT Method to help evaluate information found online.

  1. STOP: You found something that may or may not be true! STOP yourself from sharing it right away and follow the next steps.
  2. INVESTIGATE THE SOURCE: Figure out where the information is coming from. A reporter? A scientist? A random person on the internet?
  3. FIND BETTER COVERAGE: Are there other or traditionally credible sources talking about this claim or issue? See what they are saying about it.
  4. TRACE TO ORIGINAL CONTEXT: Find where the information was originally published. There might be important context that was removed by the cycle of sharing on the internet.


Bad things can happen AND there could be false stories about it. Both can happen at the same time.

Not sure if it’s credible? Don’t share it!

Learn more by taking the (free!) Check, Please: Starter Course! It will give you the tools to be a responsible online citizen.

Interested in using the course content in your class? Find out how you can adapt it on the Teacher’s Notes page.

Don’t have time to go through a whole online course? Get the highlights from these Crash Course videos and skim through a basic overview of what the SIFT Method, or The Four Moves entails.

About Courtney Bippley

Courtney is a Reference Librarian at the Main Campus Library. Her favorite genres are fantasy and science fiction. She loves dogs, coffee, and dancing.