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University of Minnesota

Kathryn A. Martin Library

Make Your Vote Count: Be Informed and Confident on Election Day

It's important to vote, but sometimes, voting can feel like taking a test you didn’t study for. Use this guide to learn about preparing to vote, finding credible resources about candidates and issues, and criteria and methods for evaluating information.

Follow These Steps to Evaluate Information

Take action: Evaluate the information you’ve found about candidates and issues by following the steps below. 

  1. STOP: Before you read and start drawing conclusions about an issue or candidate, stop to consider what you know about the website or source of information you’ve found. If you don’t know enough about the source to determine if it's trustworthy, move to the next step.
  2. Investigate the source: What can you find about a website or information source from looking at other websites? Google the organization or publication’s name to find out how long this publication has existed, how it is funded, and if it is considered reputable and credible. For more tips on investigating a source, check out this video on lateral reading.
  3. Find trusted coverage: Where did the information in the source come from? Can you find other news coverage or information from credible sources that verifies what you’re seeing in these sources? Non-partisan fact-checking websites like Snopes and Politifact can be good places to find context and verification for claims in articles you’ve found. 
  4. Trace claims, quotes, and media back to the original context: Is the source you found reporting information that originally came from another source? Can you track back to the original source to make sure the information is accurate?

This model was developed by Mike Caulfield. See SIFT (The Four Moves) for more information about the steps above.