Author Topic: Reliability / credibility of sources  (Read 2113 times)


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Reliability / credibility of sources
« on: January 25, 2014, 09:07:34 AM »
This guide is dedicated to ‘reliability / credibility of sources’. Reliability means that the sources used in your writings are accurate and trustworthy. The Purdue University Writing Lab suggests the following steps in defining the credibility of sources:
a) Define the authorship. A reliable source is written by a reliable author. Such authors cite the sources used in their research to support their arguments and information. On the other hand, sources with no authors (like a number of Internet websites) may not be credible and the information such sources provide may be erroneous.
b) Define how recent the source is. There is a number of fields you may be writing about. While the spheres of religion, history or philosophy may not require recent information, papers on economy, technology, politics, statistics etc. require recent information. In such cases avoid using sources older than 5-10 years.
c) Define the author’s purpose. It is important to carefully check whether the author you are going to cite was unbiased. Each topic may be considered from different viewpoints. Therefore, it is better to use the least biased information, which will not limit your outlook.
d) Define the types of sources valued by your audience. In academic writing it is recommended to use peer-reviewed journals, books, credible periodicals, credible websites.
e) Avoid non-reliable Internet sources. It is recommended to avoid using web-sources where the author is not indicated unless the site is associated with a reputable institution such as a respected university, a credible media outlet, government program or department, or well-known non-governmental organizations.

A credible academic source is written by an author who has an academic standing (the opinions of such author are respected). Such sources should contain the date of their publication, which helps the reader identify the relevance of the source to the current state of events, and be available for the reader. Before being published, such sources as books and journals are usually reviewed by other professionals in the same field of knowledge (peers). Such peer-reviewed sources are authoritative enough to be used in academic purposes.

In academic, formal writing it is demanded to refrain from using Wikipedia-like websites. While such resources provide easily accessible general information, they are developed by users. This means that anyone can add or change the content of Wikipedia articles, which makes such resources not credible. It is also required to realize whether the Internet source you are going to use will still be available to the reader. Some websites are likely to change, or remove the information you are referring to, which makes them a bad choice to cite for academic purposes. In order to add relevance to such sources, it is recommended to print out the pages used and attach them as appendices.
Finally, the higher the academic level of a writing, the more authoritative sources should be used.
While high school papers often require the students to use websites as primary sources, the University level writings mostly rely on academic sources, such as peer-reviewed journals, academic books, academic publications created or reproduced in e-form, academically reliable websites.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2014, 09:10:29 AM by michael »