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How do I find the right source?

Finding the right source will depend on your information need, and may take multiple search attempts. Research is a journey and builds on itself. As you find more relevant information, you can use their terminology as search keywords to potentially find more useful sources.  If it’s a scholarly article, look at the literature review and reference list to identify other possible sources.  

When evaluating whether an article is the “right source,” read the abstract (if available) to determine if it’s related to your topic. If it appears to be useful, skim the article. Does the article make a relevant claim, and does it support that claim? Does it align with aspects of your research paper? Does the source meet the criteria of your assignment? If so, it might be a good source for your paper.

What does "peer-reviewed" mean?

Peer-reviewed materials (journals and books), also known as refereed or scholarly journals and books, have a specific purpose of presenting findings and expanding the knowledge in a discipline. Unlike popular publications, peer-reviewed materials undergo a rigorous blind peer-reviewed process by multiple experts in a field to determine if the information is credible. Authors of these works are scholars or researchers with related credentials and scholarly affiliations. Many of the Lilly Library databases allow you to filter your search results to these types of publications.

Does it pass the CRAAP Test?

  • Currency: How timely is the information?
  • Relevance: How well does the information fit your research need?
  • Authority: What is the source of the information?
  • Accuracy: Is the information reliable, truthful or correct?
  • Purpose: What is the reason the information exists?

Use SIFT

  1. Stop
  2. Investigate the Source
  3. Find Better Coverage
  4. Trace Claims, Quotes, and Media Back to their Original Context

SIFT was originally developed by Michael Caulfield.

Lilly Library is a founding member of PALNI, ALI, and The Oberlin Group


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