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FYS 1046 Eastern Encounters: Identity and Change in Modern East Asian History

SIFT method for evaluating resources

SIFT is a series of actions you can take to determine the validity and reliability of claims and sources on the web.

The SIFT method, or strategy, is quick and simple and can be applied to various kinds of online content: news articles, scholarly articles, social media posts, videos, images, etc.

Each letter in SIFT corresponds to one of the Four Moves:

A graphic explaining the SIFT Method: The S stands for STOP, the I stands for Investigate the Source, the F stands for find other coverage and the T stands for trace claim quotes and media back to their original context.


Investigate the source

Find better coverage

Trace claims, quotes and media to the original context


Find more details on the Four Moves from Mike Caulfield's SIFT (Four Moves), which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Types of Plagiarism

10 most common types of plagiarism from turnitin

Popular and Scholarly Articles

Researchers need to know the difference between popular materials and scholarly materials--and when it's appropriate to use one or the other. 

Scholarly Articles Popular Articles
  • Authors are authorities in their fields, often affiliated with a college or university. Sources are cited in endnotes, footnotes, or bibliographies
  • Publications have little or no advertising (other than "ads" for professional conferences or organizations)
  • Articles must go through a peer-review process (in which an expert or several experts in the field review the work for accuracy)
  • Illustrations often take the form of charts and graphs with few, if any, glossy pictures
  • Articles use subject-specific vocabulary
  • Articles report on original research or experimentation--in other words, first-hand    experience with the material discussed (primary source)
  • Best to use when scholarly authority is needed
  • Authors are magazine staff members or freelance writers whose credentials aren't always included
  • Sources are often mentioned, but bibliographies aren't usually provided
  • Publications contain paid advertisements
  • Articles are not typically peer reviewed
  • Illustrations are numerous and colorful
  • Language is simple; no specialized knowledge of jargon is needed
  • Articles are short and meant to inform and entertain
  • Articles usually report on information second- or third-hand (secondary or tertiary sources)
  • Best to use for late-breaking news, a hot issue or trend, or brand new technology