Who Can I Trust? – Questions to Ask When Evaluating Information Sources (featuring SIFT, PIE, and SMELL methods)

Submitted by Keely Kiczenski on December 10th, 2020
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Short Description: 

This lesson is intended as a one hour, single-session overview of one aspect of information literacy: evaluating the trustworthiness of resources, particularly online. The lesson is designed for a group of 10-25 adults in a public or academic library, or is also suitable for high school students. Instructor will teach students how to investigate a source and apply three small but powerful information literacy tools to evaluation: SIFT, PIE, and SMELL.

Information Literacy Lesson Plan with Appendix.pdfDownloaded 2015 times263.93 KB
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Learning Outcomes: 
  • The student will be able to distinguish between standard evaluative criteria and apply appropriate criteria to an information source to determine its quality and relevance. 
  • The student will be able to detect misinformation and defend the credibility of a source by using relevant evaluative criteria and verifying claims externally.
  • Students will be able to locate a variety of sources about a topic and discern which would be most useful in fulfilling their information need.


Individual or Group:

Course Context (e.g. how it was implemented or integrated): 
Additional Instructor Resources (e.g. in-class activities, worksheets, scaffolding applications, supplemental modules, further readings, etc.): 
Potential Pitfalls and Teaching Tips: 
Suggested Citation: 
Kiczenski, Keely. "Who Can I Trust? – Questions to Ask When Evaluating Information Sources (featuring SIFT, PIE, and SMELL methods)." CORA (Community of Online Research Assignments), 2020.