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WRI 1100: Schmitt

Get Started with a Book - Search the Library Catalog

Search Library Resources

(online and print: books, videos, etc.)

Finding Articles

The above is only a select list of SPU databases I thought would be most helpful for this class.  There may be other databases that would be helpful for this assignment - for example if you were looking for information about the legal ramifications of your topic, you might want to search the database 'Legal Collection.'

Not sure which database is best for your topic?  Ask a Librarian!

A-Z List of SPU Databases

Evaluating a Source Using SIFT

SIFT Infographic with 4 moves for researchers

SIFT is a set of four 'moves' you can use when evaluating a source.

Stop - 

  • First, what do you know about this source?  What is the reputation of the claim and the website (or journal, or book).  If you don't know, use the other moves to get a sense of what you are looking at.
  • Second, think about how much fact-checking you need to do for your purpose. If you want to know if something is reliable to repost on social media, this might be a quick check, but if you are doing scholarly research you would want to do more research before using or sharing

Investigate the source - 

  • This does not need to be a full scale investigation, but take a little time to recognize what media type it is and a little about the source before deciding to read, share, or use as a source.

Find Better Coverage - 

  • Often the same information will be available from multiple sources. While this doesn't always prove that this information is correct or that you must agree with the claim, it does help to a give context and history for the claim.

Trace claims, quotes, and media back to original media -

  • Secondary sources are often stripped of their original context, going back to the primary source, or even a fuller secondary source can help. For example, is the claim broadly accepted or contested? 
  • Sometimes you will find that the initial source is outright wrong or mis-leading, but most often you will simply find additional helpful context


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To learn about SIFT in more detail, check out the SIFT three hour online minicourse.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Recognizing Peer-Reviewed Journals

1. Some things to consider when determining if an article is peer reviewed (source):

  1. Make sure you have a journal article; also not every in a peer-reviewed journal is peer reviewed, journals often other content such as editorials or book reviews which are not required to go through peer-review
  2. The following can usually be found in a peer-reviewed article
    • An extensive reference list with in-text citations
    • Specific style/organization: abstract, introduction, methods, results, conclusion
    • Data given in charts, tables or graphs
    • Formal language - particularly an long article title that covers all components discussed in the article
    • Includes dates for submission and acceptance of the article 

2. Some databases, like Academic Search Premier, allow you to click a check-box to say you only want peer reviewed journals.  Although sometimes databases only indicate that a resource is scholarly without covering the level of peer review the articles undergo.

3. Search the Journal's website for Author Guidelines:

image of the journal Evolution's author guidelines page - highlighting the peer review process for articles submitted to the journal.

3. Still not sure if your article is peer-reviewed?  Ask a Librarian: