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SWIFT Method for Evaluating Resources: Wikipedia

SWIFT is a way to evaluate information you find online using fact-checking, lateral reading, and common tools like Wikipedia and Google. Also includes information about the CRAAP test, a checklist that emphasizes vertical reading.

Wikipedia to Verify

Use Wikipedia to verify basic facts. 

  • Wikipedia hosts a healthy community of volunteer maintainers and editors
  • Wikipedia updates rapidly and contains information about persons, companies, and organizations. 
  • Wikipedia often reveals agenda or affiliations.
  • If a person has a Wikipedia entry, you can use it to fact-check expertise.
  • Wikipedia can be a useful tool in your lateral reading and fact-checking.
  • Typically Wikipedia entries are never cited directly because the peer-review process is informal, but Wikipedia bibliographies can and do cite valuable peer-reviewed sources like journal articles. 

Questions to ask Yourself - WIKIPEDIA

  • Does the person/entity/company have a Wikipedia entry?
  • If so, what background information about the person/entity/company from Wikipedia reveal about them?
  • Do they have agendas, controversies, or affiliations that might affect the information you are evaluating?
  • What expertise do they have?
  • How do you feel about what you've learned?

Vocabulary & Glossary

Paper of Record: A national paper of record is a reputable paper that attempts to cover all important national news with staff reporters. They are distinguished from regional and local papers which use staff primarily for local or regional news.

Grassroots organizations are organizations which are primarily run and funded by interested citizens and independent activists.

Professional organizations provide an array of services and support to people in a given field or profession.

Lateral Reading

What's lateral reading?

Lateral reading is using other websites and sources to verify claims and content on websites you are evaluating. It is a strategy used by professional fact-checkers. It's as simple as opening up a few more windows on your browser and searching other sites for claims, persons, things, and events to verify content as  your read the source page.

It's different than vertical reading, which is when you stay on a website and follow the links or analyze the content on your source page without verifying with outside sources.