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COMM 1020: Introduction to Public Speaking: Determining Credibility

Use this guide to find sources for informational and argumentative speeches.

Is Your Source Credible?

The S.I.F.T. Method


  • Do you know the website or the source of the information?
  • What is the reputation of the claim, the author, or the website?
  • Don't know any of these? Use the next steps to get more information.


  • What does the web say about the source? (Wikipedia is a great start.)
  • Don't trust what the source says about itself.

FIND trusted coverage

  • Look for trusted coverage about the CLAIM the source is making, not the source itself.
  • Understand the history and context of the claim
  • Seek out those with relevant expertise and a trusted reputation

TRACE back to the original material

  • Find the quote, media, or claim in its original context.
  • Was the version you saw or read represented accurately?
  • Find a high quality or highly respected secondary source if you can't find the original.

Beyond Credible: Peer Reviewed or Scholarly FAQ

What are scholarly articles?

Professors often require students to find scholarly and peer reviewed articles. These items:

  • generally focus on scholarly research
  • are written by experts in the field or discipline
  • are critically reviewed  by other experts before publication
  • contain cited references to the information sources used

How do I find scholarly articles?

Many of the library's databases contain scholarly or peer reviewed material and allow you to limit your search to include only these articles in the results. Use the advanced search feature in a database to find the option to limit to this type of search.M

Non-Scholarly Periodicals

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