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MUS 321: Music History and Literature I

A guide to basic information sources on music history from antiquity through the end of the Baroque period.

S.I.F.T. = Stop, Investigate, Find, Trace

Evaluating sources from the internet (social media posts, news stories, blogs, videos) requires looking outside the source itself to determine whether it's credible.

The SIFT method shows you how to use the internet as a tool to quickly and effectively determine whether a source is reliable.

SIFT: Stop, Investigate the Source, Find Trusted Coverage, and Trace to the Original

S.I.F.T.-- Fact Checking Like a Pro


Do you know the website or source of information? Check your bearings and consider your purpose. 


Know the expertise and agenda of your source. Look up your source in Wikipedia. Consider what other sites say about your source. Open multiple tabs and explore. 


Look for the best information on a topic, or scan multiple sources to find out what the consensus is. Use Ctrl + F to find specific words. 


Find the original source to see the context, so you can decide if the version you have is accurately presented. 

Are your sources credible?

The CRAAP test is one quick way of checking to see if your sources are credible and good to use for your research.



How current is the information?


Is the information related to your needs?


The author's expertise


Is the information correct?


The reason the information exists


The CRAAP test was created by librarian Sarah Blakeslee at California State University, Chico.

The CRAAP test was created by librarian Sarah Blakeslee at California State University, Chico.


When trying to spot bias, ask yourself these questions: 

1. What kind of information is it?

Is it news? Opinion? Ad? Does it appeal to your emotions, or does it make you think?

2. Who and what are the sources cited, and why should you believe them?

Are the sources given? Are the sources associated with a political party or special interest group?

3. What’s the evidence, and how was it vetted?

What’s the evidence, and how was it vetted? Is the source a document? Witness? Or is it hearsay/speculation?

4: Is the main point of the piece proven by the evidence?

Did the sources provided justify the conclusion or main point of the story?

5. What’s missing?

Was there an aspect or point that was not covered or unclear that you are left wondering about?


Based on questions from the American Press Institute.