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Misinformation and Disinformation: Fact Checking

Learn to fact check and identify fake news.

Terms Defined

  • Misinformation is false (aka Fake) information that is spread, regardless of intent to mislead.  Misinformation doesn’t care about intent; it is a term for any kind of wrong or false information.  For more detail link to the cited source.
  • Disinformation refers to false information that is intended to deliberately mislead, i.e  biased information; manipulated narrative or facts;  propaganda.  For more detail link to the cited source.


The SIFT Method for Fact Checking

  • When you seek and find sources of information, determining whether it is evidence-based requires you to never assume its validity at face value, but rather to learn a set of strategies you can employ to effectively verify that your sources are reliable and trustworthy. Professional fact-checkers employ various strategies to analyze sources.  Fact-checking has been referenced as a form of "information hygiene" (Mike Caulfield, Research Scientist, Center for an Informed Public), that when employed, it can minimize the spread of mis- and disinformation.

    Caulfield has synthesized a range of fact-checking strategies into a four-step process, know as the SIFT method outlined below. 


SIFT information on this guide was adapted from Caulfield's materials with a CC BY 4.0 license.  For more detail on the SIFT Method and helpful videos, click on these listed links that take you directly to the section from the CC source:  Introduction to College Research Copyright © by Walter D. Butler; Aloha Sargent; and Kelsey Smith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.