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Library Research Tutorial: Adapted from Canvas Course

This Research Guide runs through the same information as the Library Tutorial course in Canvas. Use this guide to quickly access that information without needing to log into Canvas, and use it as a refresher for the main points in the Canvas tutorial.

SIFT Method

While we often use the SIFT method for newspaper or magazine articles, as well as blog posts and other web posts, we can use it for academic sources, too.

So, what is SIFT? It’s a way to evaluate information, created specifically for information encountered on the internet. SIFT stands for:


               Investigate the source

               Find better/additional coverage

               Trace claims, quotes, and media to the original context

During the SIFT process, use multiple open tabs to keep track of what you find. Don’t navigate away from the original resource. Instead, read it next to what you find using this method.


Adapted in part from:

Rhetorical Analysis

Rhetorical analysis examines the intersections between author, subject, and audience. Considering the following aspects of a news item (or any source) can help determine the source's reliability and usefulness in your context. 

  1. Date of publication
    • How does the date of publication relate to the event in question?
    • A 1942 article on Nazi activity during WWII will have a different type of reliability and a different use than a 2023 article on Nazi activity during WWII.
  2. Author's ethos
    • What is the author's credibility? What authority do they have on the subject they're writing about?
  3. Publisher's background and area of expertise
    • SIFT touches on this, as well. Is a publisher of performing arts news the most reliable option for information on politics?
  4. Audience demographic
    • Who is the audience, and what is their background and/or expertise?
    • A lifeguard will talk to children learning to swim, lifeguards-in-training, and parents differently about swimming safety.
  5. Purpose
    • Why did the author write this piece? To call the audience to action? To inform? To persuade? To explain?

Rhetorical analysis considers the rhetorical situation. See this webpage from Open English @ SLCC for a good look at the rhetorical situation.