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ENG 101/ENG107: General Research Papers, Persuasive Writing & Annotated Bibliographies

This guide will direct you to the best library resources for developing a topic, researching a topic, locating argumentative sources and understanding the difference between scholarly and popular sources.

Example Sources for Evaluation

Using either the SIFT Method or the CRAAP Test listed below, evaluate the 2 sources assigned to your group: 

Group #1

Topic: Light Pollution

Group #2

Topic: Cannabis Use

Group #3

Topic: Human Trafficking

Group #4

Topic: Bee Extinction

Group #5

Topic: Grocery Gap

Source #1  Source #1 Source #1 Source #1 Source #1
Source #2 Source #2 Source #2 Source #2 Source #2

After evaluating the sources - would you cite either source in a college level research paper, why or why not? 

SIFT Method

Apply this 4 step tool to claims you encounter on the web, through social media, news outlets, or anything that seems skeptical. 

STOP - take a breath and ask yourself:
Do you recognize the information source?
Does it provoke strong emotion (anger, excitement, sadness, vindication)?
Is it far-fetched or unrealistic?

INVESTIGATE the source.
Identify where the information comes from:
Who is responsible for the content (author, organization, publisher)?
Does the content seem persuasive, biased, or have a motive (are they trying to sell you something or persuade your opinion)?

FIND trusted coverage.
Search for similar claims or content in credible sources - search Google (try limiting by domain: .org or .gov) and trusted library resources. Compare the information you encounter and see if claims or content match.

TRACE claims, quotes, and media back to the original context.
Pull details from the source to see if you can trace claims back to the originator.
Is an author or organization mentioned or an original research study?

This information was adapted from SIFT (The Four Moves) which was created by Mike Caulfield.

The CRAAP Test

How do you know if an information sources is reliable, accurate, or true? Anyone can publish information to the Internet so not all information you find on the web is accurate or even true. In fact, a lot of information is biased, controversial or just plain wrong! Not knowing what information is reliable can be dangerous! Be sure to thoroughly evaluate all information sources you encounter for accuracy and reliability. Try the CRAAP* test:

C Currency When was it published? Has it been updated or revised?
R Relevancy

What would you use the information for? Does it support your research?

A Authority Who wrote it? Who is responsible for the information?
A Accuracy Where did the information come from? Are sources cited?
P Purpose Why was it written? Is it factual, entertaining or persuasive?

*Adapted from CSU, Chico CRAAP Test