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MUS 336: Music Education II: 6-12

The SIFT Method is a tool for evaluating information in 60 seconds. It focuses on searching other sources to verify the creator's authority and the creator's claims.

  1. Stop what you're reading and watching and ask yourself:
    1. Do I know this site or source? If not, learn more about them from others before reading or listening further.
    2. What is my goal in watching or reading this information? Do I want to verify the claim they're making? Do I want to share this video?
  2. Investigate the source. Run a quick search on the publisher, author, or creator.
    1. Do they have expertise or experience in the subject?
    2. Do they have an agenda? (i.e. Are they trying to sell you something? Is their primary purpose to get you to vote a certain way?)
  3. Find better coverage. If you want to investigate the claim they are making, search the claim and scan multiple sources.
  4. Trace back to the original.
    1. If you're unsure if an image has been photoshopped, run a reverse image search.
    2. Did the source quote a respected source? Find the original quote to see if it was misquoted or taken out of context.

The SIFT Method by Mike Caulfield is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

How to Read a Scholarly Article (Accessible View)

1. Read the abstract
An abstract is a summary of the article, and will give you an idea of what the article is about and how it will be written. If there are lots of complicated subject-specific words in the abstract, the article will be just as hard to read.

2. Read the conclusion
This is where the author will repeat all of their ideas and their findings. Some authors even use this section to compare their study to others. By reading this, you will notice a few things you missed, and will get another overview of the content.

3. Read the first paragraph or the introduction
This is usually where the author will lay out their plan for the article and describe the steps they will take to talk about their topic. By reading this, you will know what parts of the article will be most relevant to your topic!

4. Read the first sentence of every paragraph
These are called topic sentences, and will usually introduce the idea for the paragraph that follows. By reading this, you can make sure that the paragraph has information relevant to your topic before you read the entire thing. 

5. The rest of the article
Now that you have gathered the idea of the article through the abstract, conclusion, introduction, and topic sentences, you can read the rest of the article!

To review: Abstract → Conclusion → Introduction → Topic Sentences → Entire Article

Used with permission from the Undergraduate Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for use or adaptation of materials.