Scenario: In searching for articles for your research topic, "how has concern over critical race theory in public schools led to banning of books?" we came across this article:
Let's work together to figure out if this is an article we should use for our research paper.
As a reminder, here are the parts of SIFT:
- Investigate the Source
- Find Trusted Coverage
- Trace to the Original Source
We already did the first step (Stop!), and now we'll perform the rest of SIFT in groups.
In your group, answer the questions provided by following the provided links and having a conversation with each other.
Make sure at least one person in the group writes down some notes to each question.
After a while, we'll come back and discuss your findings with the rest of the class. You'll need to summarize what you found.
Don't forget that you can ask your librarian for help!
Group A - Investigate the website
- What does the "About Us" page say?
- What kind of editorial process do the articles go through?
- What impression do you get of the reliability of the site based on other articles it features?
- Does this site seem unfairly biased?
- What is the reputation of this site? Does it publish reliable information?
Based on your findings, should we trust this website as a source for our research? Talk us through your process to come to this decision.
Group B - Investigate the Author
- What are this author's credentials on the subject? Do they have advanced degrees or hold positions of trusted authority?
- What is the author's reputation?
- What other articles has this author written? Are they on the same subjects or on lots of different topics?
Based on your findings, is this author a reliable authority on this topic? Describe how your investigation led to your conclusion.
Group C - Find Trusted Coverage
- Can you find reliable sources to corroborate the facts from this article?
- Major newspapers?
- Trustworthy institutions' websites?
- What is the reputation of the other sources corroborating the story in terms of:
- Has it won important awards (e.g., Pulitzer Prize)?
- Are there different viewpoints from trusted sources to consider?
- Are there academic sources on this or similar topics?
Were you able to find trusted sources that reported similar stories? Discuss your process for making that decision.
Group D - Trace Claims, Quotes, and Media to Their Original Context
Within your group, discuss the following questions:
- Is this article reporting new information or reporting from existing sources?
- What is the original source of the major facts for this article?
- Where did these facts come from?
- Is the original source trustworthy?
- Are the facts that were originally reported elsewhere accurately depicted in this Guardian article?
Click on the links within the article to see the sources of their reporting.
Were you able to trace the facts and claims to their original sources of information? How credible and accurate were the claims made in the Guardian article? Discuss your process for making that decision.