Information gathering is an integral aspect of writing research papers. You’ll need to seek out various information sources like articles, journals, and the Internet for your paper writing.
However, there are many information sources, and not all of them are credible. Therefore, credible research sources are the only sources allowed when writing a research paper because they provide reliable information.
How do you determine which sources are reliable? Lucky for you, in this article, we show you just that. You will also learn the importance of credible sources with the “where” and “how” to find them. Let’s get started.
What are credible sources?
Before we teach you how to locate credible sources, let’s understand a bit more about them. Credible sources of data materials that are considered reliable and unbiased. They often have information based on evidence, and they’re usually materials published within the past ten years.
The nature of the organization or a particular auto can be an important factor in considering the credibility of a source. For example, if such an organization is well recognized and the author is well-known for their expertise in a particular field, then they have good information credibility.
Why is it important to use credible sources?
Credible sources are critical for research papers because their findings are based on evidence and reliable information. No matter the research pattern, structure, and organization of a research paper, if its findings are considered unreliable, they will be unhelpful.
That’s why research papers and research, in general, are time-consuming affairs needing enough room to search for credible information sources. As the author of a reliable paper, you not only provide valuable information but also gain distrust and support from your field and its audience.
Furthermore, when arguments are backed up by credibility, they hold more value and are understood without doubts, which can undermine your research. Besides that, unreliable information sources usually contain errors, which are particularly harmful to critical research projects.
Credible vs. non-credible sources
Non-credible sources are the polar opposite of credible information sources. They should not be utilized, mainly when working on important pieces of research and writing. An untrustworthy source would almost certainly be obsolete and error-prone. They also usually come from sources with no meaningful qualifications.
Below is a brief outline of the disparities between credible and non-credible information sources.
Credible sources feature:
- information published around the last decade
- articles and blogs from Google Scholar
- recognized academic databases.
- Articles by respected and qualified authors
- websites belonging to governmental and reputable educational institutions.
Non-credible sources feature:
- outdated information
- regular blog posts
- texts written by regular authors
- commercial websites
- articles without citations
Credible Sources Examples
Learning how to find reliable sources for research is not as easy as it can appear. However, below are good examples of websites and locations where you can find credible sources.
- Google Scholar
This is the most recognized and easy-to-use search engine. Google scholar provides scholarly pieces of writing on any field and topic of your choice. It is free to use, and there are various publishing formats available.
JSTOR is an online library with various credible sources like journals, books, and articles. It isn’t free to use, but it is a great help for students conducting research. And because of its exclusivity and unique selection of information, it is one of the most reliable databases.
- Microsoft Academic
This is another free web search engine. It helps you find accurate information and tracks your chosen niche’s most recent academic publications and research.
- Science Direct
ScienceDirect is a vast database of scientific and medical data accessible with subscription packages. With over 18 million pieces published there, it is an important information source. Also, every bit of information published on the database is credible.
How to identify reliable sources
Understanding the differences between legitimate and untrustworthy sources is not always easy, with vast information on the Internet. Fortunately, you can follow some straightforward guidelines to guarantee that you are constantly conducting research from reliable sources. Here are some of them below.
- Understand the depth of the source
Always examine the depth of an article, not only its surface content. See how lengthy it is, understand the topic and check if it contains the necessary information structure. If there’s any problem with your evaluation, the source is probably untrustworthy.
- Know its audience
When grading a source’s credibility, it’s crucial to always know its target audience. This is because, most times, sources have a goal in mind, and it can materialize into a bias.
- Know its author
Knowing who wrote the information and how reputable they are will help you determine its credibility. You can also examine other published works they have as well to confirm.
A source is likely to be more reputable when it is posted on a well-recognized platform for publishing credible information. Conversely, when information appears in an untrustworthy location, chances are such information isn’t reliable.
Examine the dates of the article and evaluate if it’s still relevant to modern research or if it has become outdated articles that are more than a decade old tend to be less relevant to current research.
- Examine its accuracy
Many information sources can sound incredibly convincing, but is the source supported by evidence? Are the claims expressed correctly? If you can find satisfactory answers rotten in evidence, then your source is credible.
Several factors go into determining the credibility of an information source. First, you’ll need to understand the characteristics of credible and non-credible information sources to locate and distinguish between them properly. By following our easy-to-understand guide, finding credible information sources should come easy.