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SPE 103-050 - Christy Carter - Fall 2023

Librarian Jimmy Gonzalez-Vicker's Course Guide for Christy Carter's SPE 103-050 class, Tuesdays 6 - 8:50PM

Research is a Process, but your Librarians are here to help!

Your friendly Oakton Librarians can help prevent research from becoming a stressful process, as seen in the animation below. 

Cooked shrimp typing quickly on a desktop computer keyboard

Scroll further to learn about Popular articles and Opinion articles:

Popular vs Scholarly Resources

Popular Source Section Title Button with picture of newspapers

Popular resources are written for a large, general audience, and are easily accessible to the public, often free of charge. Popular resources are written to inform, persuade, or entertain their audiences. These sources often answer factual questions like who, what, where, when, why, and how. When you are looking for information about current events, they are a great resource. Some examples of reputable popular resources include:

A few things to remember about popular sources:

  • Popular resources often may not cite their sources.

  • Some popular resources are produced by organizations which have an agenda and want you to be persuaded to look at a given topic in a particular way. 

  • Popular sources can contain opinion/editorials, and news articles. These two types of articles offer very different kinds of information.

Opinion vs. News Section Title ButtonIt is important to differentiate between opinion articles and news articles. Here's how to tell them apart!


  • Promotes a single viewpoint.
  • May use "I" or "We."
  • More personal tone.
  • Labeled as: opinion, editorial, review, or analysis.


  • Presents a variety of viewpoints.
  • Contains verifiable facts.
  • Uses "they" or "them."

The SIFT Method Section Title Button

The SIFT Method is a four step strategy for evaluating information for credibility. It was developed by Mike Cauffield. It works like this:

  1. STOP! Are you familiar with the source you have found? If you aren't familiar with the source or how reliable it is, proceed to step two.
  2. Investigate the source. Take a quick minute and look up this source on Wikipedia. Who are they? What is their possible bias or interest in the topic?
  3. Find better coverage. Look up the information on sites you know are reliable. Use fact checking tools and sites to check the reputation of various sources and build a network of sites whose credibility is well-established that you can use to verify information.
  4. Trace the claims back to the original context. Including links, images, and video. 

Example Resource Links

1. Popular Resource Example Link

  • This article is published by CBS, a commonly known news resource. 
  • The title provides only information and does not include an opinion.

2. Opinion Resource Example Link

  • This article is published by the MIT Technology Review, a less commonly known news resource compared to CBS, but it is a well known publication. 
  • The title is bold, intense, and provides an opinion on the topic. 
    • Opinion titles usually have language similar to "This is what is happening and this is why that is good or bad."

3. Peer Reviewed Article Example Link

  • This article is trickly, only because the title is in the form of an opinion; however, it is Peer Reviewed.
  • When you first visit the site, it is in EBSCO, a common database available at Oakton (and other academic institutions). 
  • To confirm that an article is peer reviewed in EBSCO, click on the hyperlink on the name of the publication listed next to "Source."
    • Scroll down until you see "Peer Reviewed."  If it says "Yes," the article has been read, edited, approved by professionals within a respective field. It is also likely published from within an academic institution or research organization.