SIFT & PICK Fact Checking & Source Evaluation

Submitted by Ellen Carey on April 14th, 2023
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Short Description: 

The SIFT* & PICK approach to evaluating sources adapts and builds on Mike Caulfield's SIFT method to help students select quality sources by practicing:

  • Lateral Reading (SIFT): fact-checking by examining other sources and internet fact-checking tools; and
  • Vertical Reading (PICK): examining the source itself to decide whether it is the best choice for their needs.

*The SIFT method was created by Mike Caulfield under a CC BY 4.0 International License.

SIFT & PICK Fact Checking & Source Evaluation.pdfDownloaded 574 times566.56 KB
SIFT & PICK Fact Checking & Source Evaluation without Luria Library branding.pdfDownloaded 317 times375.72 KB
Learning Outcomes: 

After learning the SIFT & PICK Fact Checking & Source Evaluation process, students will be better able to:

  • Distinguish between lateral and vertical reading strategies for source evaluation
  • Use lateral reading strategies to fact-check information
  • Use vertical reading strategies to select the most appropriate sources for their particular needs
  • Consider how a particular source relates to a body of knowledge on a topic

Individual or Group:

Course Context (e.g. how it was implemented or integrated): 

At Santa Barbara City College, we use SIFT & PICK in many instructional materials (e.g. research guides and Canvas modules) and guide students through this fact checking and source evaluation process in instruction interactions (research workshops, at the reference desk, in our Library 101 course, etc.).

Additional Instructor Resources (e.g. in-class activities, worksheets, scaffolding applications, supplemental modules, further readings, etc.): 

The SIFT & PICK pdf and LibGuide include links to other fact fact checking and source evaluation resources.

Potential Pitfalls and Teaching Tips: 

When teaching the SIFT & PICK Fact Checking & Source Evaluation process, we emphasize the need for both fact checking (SIFT) and critical thinking in regard to selecting which source(s) to use (PICK). When we use SIFT & PICK in research workshops, we choose which concepts and/or ACRL Frames to emphasize based on the course assignment and/or goals of the workshop.

Suggested Citation: 
Carey, Ellen. "SIFT & PICK Fact Checking & Source Evaluation." CORA (Community of Online Research Assignments), 2023.