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ENG 151 - SIFT Method for Evaluating Sources

This guide explains how to use the SIFT Method for evaluating sources. SIFT stands for Stop, Investigate the claim, Find better coverage, and Trace back to the original source.

The Research Process

Before you find sources to evaluate, it's important to understand the steps of the research process so you know what to expect when searching for information to evaluate. The image below outlines the basic steps of the research process.

  1. Start with your research question.
  2. Identify the main concepts of that question. These will usually be words in your question.
  3. Brainstorm keywords related to the main concepts. These will be the words you use to search for information.
  4. Choose your search tools. For scholarly peer-reviewed sources, start with library databases and use the limiters.
  5. Test your search. Were the keywords you chose helpful? Did you get too many or too few results? Were the results relevant?
  6. Revise your search. It's unusual to find exactly what you want after your first search. Try other keywords or even other databases. You may need to repeat steps 4 - 6 a few times. Don't get discouraged! You can always ask a librarian for help
  7. Once you find information you think might be useful, click the next tab to learn about the SIFT Method, an easy, efficient process for evaluating information.