Academic papers and researches cannot be valid without credible sources. Looking for credible references may turn into a real disaster if you’re doing it for the first time. What can make any source credible? How and where can you find them? We’ll guide you through the ways to check the reliability of the sources and if the .gov sites can be used as credible sources.
If something is credible, then it’s reliable. It means that information is true to life, it can be trusted because the author of the source is an expert in a specific field. If you find a resource that is not credible, you cannot use it.
What can make a source credible?
If you find an interesting post on Facebook and there’s an answer to the question you’re looking for, you cannot prove the credibility of this source. The same rule works for the sites where you cannot find the name of the author or any facts about the investigations that had led to those conclusions. However, such websites are considered more credible sources than social network sites.
We can also consider PDF documents, books and encyclopedia websites. They are considered as the most credible sources online. However, you should check if there’s an opportunity for anyone to upload a new book of PDF file to that website. If anyone can freely do this, that site cannot be considered credible.
Now we’ve almost come to the most credible sources. What are they? Here we can mention “peer views” by experts in a specific area. Each post made by an expert should undergo a strict vetting process.
How to look for credible sources?
When googling is not enough, it’s time to use a few simple rules. Here are some of them:
- Latest posts. One of the requirements for credible sources is using the latest and most up-to-date facts. And we consider such a source to be less than five years old.
- Check the author’s proficiency. You can google the name of the authors, check their qualifications, other publications, and so on.
- Check verifications from academics. If you find publications that have been vetted by academics, you see one of the credible sources.
- Use Google Scholar. You will have the highest probability to find credible sources. You will see various books that contain accurate and reliable data. But you should check the date of the publication here - you can find a lot of outdated facts.
Here’s a list of credible sources
We’d love to make your life a bit easier and give you a list of sites where you can find credible sources. Scroll down to see them.
- JSTOR. It’s a user-friendly website for research. Students get a chance to find credible sources, and writers, reach a wide audience.
- Google Scholar. It’s a robust search engine for students to look for credible sources such as scholarly sites, new publications that are up-to-date. You can find articles, books, and presentations.
- Oxford Academic. You can find great journals that are related to a wide number of niches.
- Microsoft Academic. Here’s a good place for finding statistics data from credible sources. You can also find publications in various fields of study.
- Cornell University Library. It’s an online library that is often used not only by students but also by professors.
- SAGE Publishing. You will find a big number of credible sources here. All publications contain up-to-date data.
- Taylor and Francis Online. You will have over 4 mln credible sources.
- Academic Journals. Here’s a nice place to find peer-reviews academic journals. And you can find some conferences here as well.
Are .gov sites credible?
Gov stands for government, so .gov sites are created and updated by governmental institutions. Each new publication undergoes checks and verifications. You can use the information from such sites and consider it to be as credible sources.
What kind of information can you find on .gov sites? For example, if you go to USA.gov, you will find laws, facts about the US territory, immigration service, etc. All the facts will be up-to-date, and you can consider them as credible sources for your paper or research.
You cannot craft paper without using credible sources of information. It’s an essential part of any research. Of course, you can find some interesting facts, news or statements. But you can use them as a basis for the paper only if you can find supporting credentials that will meet all the requirements about trustworthiness.
What can you do if you cannot find any credible sources for some facts or opinions? What will you do if you simply lack time for doing this? You can try not to sleep at nights or you can ask someone to help you.
Pick up the second variant and get a good chance to find the right sources that will support each line of your paper of research.