Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

ENG151 - SIFT Method Guide - Amy

Identify Your Source

Knowing more about your source can help you evaluate it. Is it a popular source with background information meant for the general public? Or is it a scholarly source that was written by an expert on the subject and published by a peer-reviewed journal?

The following explains some characteristics of popular and scholarly sources. At the end of each section, we link to specific examples of each. 

Popular and Scholarly Sources Chart

Scholarly Sources

Scholarly sources can be found in library databases and sometimes on the open internet. Many scholarly sources on the open internet are behind a paywall, which restricts access to the content unless you have a subscription or want to pay a fee for individual content.

Examples of Scholarly Sources:

Journal of the American Medical Association

Journal of Agriculture Science

In The Library With The Lead Pipe

Aging and Health Research

The American Journal of Sports Medicine

Popular Sources

Popular sources comprise most of what people read on a regular basis, If your instructor allows you to use popular sources for your assignments, remember to evaluate them carefully using the SIFT Method before citing them.

Popular sources can be found in library databases as well as the open internet. Sometimes popular sources on the open internet are behind a paywall and require a paid subscription to the source to view the full text of an article. This is common with newspapers. In some cases, a source will allow you to view a certain number of articles for free before they require a paid subscription.

Examples of Popular Sources



The New York Times

The Chronicle of Higher Education

Huffington Post