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Useful Terms

Trustworthy, reliable

Credible sources are understood to be accurate and reliable sources of information.  Look at the Evaluating Sources box below to help determine credibility.  

 Oxford English Dictionary

An inclination, tendency, predisposition towards

A biased source is one in which the author is taking a certain perspective in regards to the information.  We all have biases and someone with a bias can still produce a credible source.  It is up to you to decide how much of a bias is present and if it is still a worthwhile source.  Be aware if a source is trying to persuade or trying to sell you something.  Use the criteria below to determine bias.

Based on a University of Texas libguide.

Peer review is a process scholarly articles go through before they are published.  An article is evaluated by experts (peers) in  the field to ensure accuracy and quality.  Refereed is also used to describe this process.

Evaluating Sources

You will need to use critical thinking skills to evaluate your sources. This is especially true with online-only sources or non-academic journals.  Check the following:

Authorship:

  • Is the person, group or organization responsible for the site identified?
  • What type of site have you located?  For example, is it a personal page (.net) or blog, a company website (.com), an organization (.org), a government body (.gov), or an educational institution (.edu)?

Accuracy:

  • Does the author cite reliable sources for his or her facts?
  • How does the information compare with that in other works written about this topic?

Authority:

  • What are the author's qualifications for writing on this subject?
  • Is he or she connected with an organization that has an established reputation?

Currency:

  • Does the web site include a publication date or "last updated" date?
  • Is the information provided recent? Or is it from the time period you are researching?

Objectivity:

  • Is the author affiliated with a particular organization that might have a bias?