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Canadian Law & Legislation

This library guide will provide you with information to complete your Canadian criminal law research.

The SIFT method of evaluating information

The SIFT method was created by Mike Caulfield. All SIFT information on this page is adapted from his materials with a CC BY 4.0 license.

STOP. Ask yourself whether you are familiar with the source of the information and the claim. If you are unfamiliar with the reputation of either the claim or the source (or both), use the other moves to get a better sense of what you’re looking at.

INVESTIGATE. Knowing the expertise and agenda of the source is crucial to your interpretation of what they say. Take sixty seconds to figure out where a source is from before reading to help you decide if it is worth your time and understand its significance and trustworthiness.

FIND BETTER COVERAGE. Go out and find the best source you can on the topic, or scan multiple sources and see what the expert consensus seems to be. Find other coverage that best suits your needs — more trusted, more in-depth, or maybe just more varied. 

TRACE CLAIMS, QUOTES AND MEDIA TO THE ORIGINAL CONTEXT. Find the cited source(s), so you can see if the original context was accurately represented in the source you found. If not, then maybe rely instead on the sources you found using the previous move!

Is it scholarly??

The Internet and the Library make it is easy to find information, but it is more difficult to identify sources you can rely on. Evaluate your sources carefully to ensure you've selected material that is trustworthy and appropriate for your assignment. 

Use this chart to help you evaluate your sources:

 

 

Scholarly Academic Publication

Popular Publications

Author

Written by an expert in the field of study (an academic or trained specialist) Written by those without expertise in the field (a member of the public or journalist) or no author is stated 

Date

Date of publication is provided Popular publications, especially WWW publications, often do not give a date of publication

Publisher

Colleges/Universities, professional associations, scholarly publishers + research institutes    Commercial for-profit publishers or members of the public

Purpose

To report on experiments, theories, case studies + other research    To sell advertised products, inform, promote a point of view or entertain

Editing

Peer review by experts in the field Review by a generalist (a magazine editor) or no review

Documentation

Sources used in the author's research are cited in a reference list or footnotes    Sources are rarely cited or are inaccurate

Other

Accurate spelling + grammar, few advertisements, logical + well written

Spelling + grammar errors may occur, many advertisements, poor or variable writing quality

(Modified, original source UBC Library

 

For more information on evaluating information sources, see:

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