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Research Methods: Credible Sources

Basic Approach to a Research Project

Evaluating the Credibility of Sources

When using information, especially, but not only in academic writing, it is important to know if the source is credible, that is, is it  believable.

Using Research and Evidence

What type of evidence should I use?

There are two types of evidence.

  • First hand research is research you have conducted yourself such as interviews, experiments, surveys, or personal experience and anecdotes.
  • Second hand research is research you are getting from various texts that has been supplied and compiled by others such as books, periodicals, and Web sites.

Regardless of what type of sources you use, they must be credible. In other words, your sources must be reliable, accurate, and trustworthy.

How do I know if a source is credible?

Apply the C.R.A.A.P. test to the information you find:

Internet Sources

Be especially careful when evaluating Internet sources! Never use Web sites where an author cannot be determined, 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. Beware of using sites like Wikipedia, which are collaboratively developed by users. Because anyone can add or change content, the validity of information on such sites may not meet the standards for academic research.

--From The OWL

[Contributors: Stacy Weida, Karl Stolley]