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SPE 111: Public Speaking

A guide to doing research for your SPE 111 class.


Four quick moves to make when you're evaluating a source.

SIFT: Stop, Investigate the source, find better coverage, trace claims, quotes and media to the original context.

STOP a moment when you first visit a page or post. Do you know the website/source? What is its reputation? If you don’t know, try the moves below to get a sense of what you’re looking at. 

INVESTIGATE the source. You don't have to be exhaustive. Open a new tab and do some quick searches on the website, author or organization producing the information to determine whether the source credible and worth your time.

FIND a better source. If your investigation shows the source isn't so great, or you scan the source itself and it doesn't even seem worth investigating further, move on to finding a better source. 

TRACE claims, quotes and media to their original context. If the source makes a claim, quotes someone, or provides audio or video clips, try to find the original source. That lets you know if it's represented fairly and accurately. 

This was adapted from the SIFT (The Four Moves) by Mike Caulfield

In-class Activity

I'm considering using the website below for my speech on whether or not masks are effective and necessary. Use the SIFT method to help me decide whether to keep it or sift it out!

Stanford Study Results: Facemasks are Ineffective to Block Transmission of COVID-19... 

After you've done your evaluation, weigh in on whether I should use this source here:

Poll: Keep this source or not? 

Wait until we've reviewed everyone's responses before moving on to the next section.


Here's a second source I'm considering. Use the SIFT method to evaluate it:

What is the best mask for COVID-19?

What do you think? Answer this poll:

Poll: Keep this source or not?