Research Guide on the Conflict in Ukraine

Covers the conflict in Ukraine starting in 2014 as well as the 2022 Russian war in Ukraine.

Information Sources and the Ukraine Conflict

Following the conflict in Ukraine is difficult, especially if you’re not already knowledgeable about the situation. In such dynamic situations, it may be difficult to distinguish misinformation from credible information.  But by taking time to analyze and think critically about what you are reading, watching or sharing will lessen the amount of bad information that circulates. 

Here are some articles related to misinformation about the conflict in Ukraine: 

"How to avoid sharing bad information about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine," MIT Technology Review, Feb. 25, 2022

"Ukraine conflict: Many misleading images have been shared online," BBC Monitoring, Feb. 24, 2022

"TikTok sees a surge of misleading videos that claim to show the invasion of Ukraine," National Public Radio, updated Feb. 28, 2022

How can you determine if what you're reading or viewing is credible? Use  SIFT (Stop, Investigate the source, Find better coverage, Trace claims, quotes, and media to the original context). See below. 

SIFT: Four Steps When Evaluating a Source

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These four steps will help you figure out the context of the source, and help you determine if it is useful for your project.

 

1. Stop:

  • Do you know the website or source of the information, and what the reputation of both the claim and the website is? Don’t read it or share media until you know what it is.

2. Investigate the Source:

  • Authority - Who is the author? What is their point of view? What’s their agenda? What’s their record of fairness or accuracy?

    • Who has authority? There are lots of different kinds of authority, like subject expertise (e.g., scholarship), societal position (e.g., public office or title), or special experience (e.g., participating in a historic event). 

    • Think about:  If you’re reading a piece on economics by a Nobel prize-winning economist, you should know that before you read it. Conversely, if you’re watching a video on the many benefits of milk consumption that was put out by the dairy industry, you want to know that as well.  This doesn’t mean the Nobel economist will always be right and that the dairy industry can’t be trusted. But knowing the expertise and agenda of the source is crucial to your interpretation of what they say. 

  • Purpose - Why was the source created? Who is the intended audience?

  • Publication & Format - Where was it published? In what medium?

  • Relevance - How is it relevant to your research? What is its scope?

  • Date of Publication - When was it written? Has it been updated?

  • Documentation - Did they cite their sources? Who did they cite?

3. Find Trusted Coverage:

  • A key piece of context about a claim is whether it is broadly accepted or rejected or something in-between. Scan for other coverage to see what the expert consensus is on a claim, learn the history around it, and learn about other or better sources.

  • Do you have to agree with the consensus once you find it? Absolutely not! But understanding the context and history of a claim will help you better evaluate it and form a starting point for future investigation.

4. Trace claims, quotes, and media back to the original context:

  • Much of what we find on the internet has been stripped of context. Maybe there’s a picture that seems real but the caption could be misleading. Maybe a claim is made about a new medical treatment based on a research finding — but you’re not certain if the cited research paper really said that.

  • In these cases you can trace the claim, quote, or media back to the source, so you can see it in it’s original context and get a sense if the version you saw was accurately presented.

 

Adapted from SIFT (The Four Moves) by Mike Caulfield and Evaluating Resources by UC Berkeley Library. For more in-depth information and questions to consider, visit these links!

Last Updated: Nov 7, 2022 3:05 PM