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Psychology: PSCH 271

Library resources for Psychology

PSCH 271: Evaluating Information on the Web Using SIFT

In this course, you'll be gathering evidence of the effectiveness of a resilience rewirement of your choosing. The web is full of freely available information on a variety of "wellness hacks" and trends, some of it false and some of it reliable. It's not realistic or necessary to base every decision on what to trust on evidence from peer-reviewed research. The SIFT method was developed by digital expert Mike Caulfield based on the practices of professional fact checkers to help people develop critical practices and habits of mind when reviewing information on the web.

I will introduce the "moves" involved in applying SIFT, and you will practice these moves using a few different examples.  We will use polling to gauge the consensus of the group on the reliability of the information provided in each source.


Icebreaker: Your Information Seeking and Evaluation Practices

If I were curious about alternatives to caffeine for staying alert, my preferred destination for exploring options would be
Google Search: 192 votes (78.69%)
TikTok: 33 votes (13.52%)
Instagram: 6 votes (2.46%)
Facebook: 2 votes (0.82%)
twitter: 4 votes (1.64%)
Other: 7 votes (2.87%)
Total Votes: 244
I'm familiar with following the methods for evaluating information on the web
CRAAP Test: 27 votes (14.67%)
SIFT: 6 votes (3.26%)
All of the above: 17 votes (9.24%)
None of the above: 134 votes (72.83%)
Total Votes: 184

Applying SIFT: Check the Source

Applying SIFT: 

Returning to the example of caffeine alternatives for staying alert, the following article was in the first page of results for a Google Search filtered down to News:


Based on what you can find about the source of the article on Google, are you inclined to trust the information?
Yes: 105 votes (52.76%)
No: 23 votes (11.56%)
Maybe: 71 votes (35.68%)
Total Votes: 199

Let's investigate an article about CBD oils and stress reduction. 


Based on what you can find about the source of the article on Google, are you inclined to trust the information?
Yes: 47 votes (42.34%)
No: 32 votes (28.83%)
Maybe: 32 votes (28.83%)
Total Votes: 111

Applying SIFT: Check a Claim

Checking a Claim:

The article above made a claim that coffee alleviates depression. Do a quick Google Search to see if you can come up with any results that substantiate that claim. 


Based on some of the initial results, does the claim seem true?
Yes: 56 votes (43.08%)
No: 50 votes (38.46%)
Jury's out: 24 votes (18.46%)
Total Votes: 130

Applying SIFT: Look for Trusted Work

Finding trusted works could mean doing a Google News search as suggested in the video.  It could also mean looking for scientific evidence from other credible sources such as Peer-Reviewed research articles. 


TRADING UP SOURCES: Using the databases above, do a quick search to find peer-reviewed research on WEIGHTED BLANKETS FOR REDUCING ANXIETY. Based on a quick glance at the results, which database seems to offer the most promising evidence?
APA PsycINFO: 10 votes (27.78%)
Google Scholar: 13 votes (36.11%)
PubMed: 1 votes (2.78%)
Can't decide, they're all good.: 12 votes (33.33%)
Total Votes: 36

Supplementary Materials