Skip to Main Content

ALEC 240 - Presentation of Sales Strategies for Agricultural Audiences

ALEC 240 Research & Verbal Citation Guide

SIFT Method

S.I.F.T Method description. Details below in text.

SIFT Method

As you begin sorting through search results, having a sound method to evaluate sources can save time and improve the quality of research.

Mike Caulfield's S.I.F.T. Method is a simple, easy-to-remember four step process that can help verify the reputability of resources. 

  • S: Stop and take a few moments to reflect on the resource before beginning to dive deeply into the content. Are you currently familiar with the reputability of the publisher or website? If not, use the other steps in the SIFT process to gauge the reliability of the resource.
  • I: Investigate the Source if you are unfamiliar with the organization or author the resource is from, set aside one or two minutes to discern the level of expertise of the author or if any conflict of interests are present.
  • F: Find better coverage to determine what the most reputable sources on the topic state. Finding better coverage can mean reading more highly trusted sources, more in-depth explanations, or a greater diversity of viewpoints. 
  • T: Trace original claims and media back to original contexts. To follow good practices for research, we need to re-contextualize claims and viewpoints. Trace cited claims, research findings, methods, or other media back to their original publications to verify their veracity first-hand.Try to put publications’ claims into the context of other experts in the field. Remember to be reflective while evaluating sources, to search for consensus or controversy, and to ask for assistance when needed.

Determining Reputability

What is the peer review process?

Peer review is a rigorous process that determines if a submitted manuscript will be published in a journal or rejected. Experts and specialists in the field review submitted work, make suggestions or edits, and return the work to the author for revision. This cycle may repeat several times before the manuscript is accepted by the editors. The review process helps to ensure the validity of studies, determines the significance or originality of submitted work, and raises the overall quality of research.

To learn more about the peer review process, explore the links below (links open in new tabs):

What are primary, secondary, and tertiary sources?

Primary sources are often first-hand accounts, original documents, full texts of laws, photographs, original research, interviews, or datasets, while secondary sources can be interpretations, analyses, or summaries of primary sources. Tertiary sources, on the other hand, help to compile, index, or organize other sources, with examples including encyclopedias, directories, manuals, or abstracts.


To learn more about types of sources, explore the links below (links open in new tabs):