Using a Credible Source of Information
When you find a source for information, whether it’s for your own personal knowledge or writing a research paper, you want to make sure you evaluate the credibility of that source. This is especially important to do with internet sources, because anyone can create a web page.
It doesn’t have to be a qualified individual that is offering the information out there. To determine the credibility of a work, let’s look at the author or organization putting the information out there. Is this author organization one that’s well known? That is well-known for being credible or for publishing outlandish things?
Or is it an author organization that you can find no prior existence of? These are important things to look for, because you want to make sure whatever source you’re using is credible.
What are the author or organization’s credentials? Do they have other books or pieces of writing published that you can go back and look at to see that they’ve been doing this for a while? Why are they publishing this information? Do they have an agenda? Are they publishing this information to get you to buy something?
To get you to lean toward one side or the other of an issue? Is the source written in an objective way or is persuasive language being used? Are they weighing out both sides of an issue equally or are they using persuasive language to make you feel better or worse about a particular side of an issue or a particular product?
Is the information unrealistic or does it sound too good to be true? Now, this one is very important with the internet, because if you type in a search for some miracle cure or some miracle reason for something happening, you’ll probably find it, but you don’t know how credible that information is going to be.
If it sounds too good to be true, you should go through all these other steps and make sure that whatever you’re looking at is credible before you believe it or use it as a source or take that as the final truth of the information that you’re looking for. Another thing you should do is check the date.
If you find something that supports your research paper and it’s just wonderful information but it’s dated from 1972, it might have been accurate when it was written but it may no longer be accurate. You need to check that very carefully. Check reviews.
See if other people have reviewed this book or posted reviews about this website or article that you’re looking at. See what their reviews say. Whether it’s realistic or not, whether someone says on there “Oh, this isn’t true. If you go to this website, it’ll tell you the real story or will at least disprove this article.”
There are also peer review journals that you can use as credible sources. Because they have to go through rigorous qualifications for articles to either even get in the journal, they are considered very highly credible sources.
Of course, they’re peer reviewed journals, so peers (people who are knowledgeable on the subject matter) have reviewed these articles before you. One tip, whenever you are looking for credible sources, is to remember that higher production cost usually means greater credibility.
If you publish a physical book, the cost is going to be greater production-wise than if you just created a website. It costs barely anything, sometimes nothing, to start a website and start writing things on it. That doesn’t make it credible. Where it costs a lot more to publish a book, especially one that is published with millions of copies.
That is something to keep in mind. Whenever you’re looking for a source, either for yourself or for a research paper, you want to evaluate the credibility of the source. Please make sure that you go through these steps, or at least most of these steps, to try to figure out how credible your source is, so you’re making sure you’re putting the most accurate information into your writing.