How can I find credible sources?
A source is credible when it is trustworthy. Sometimes it is hard to determine whether a source is credible or not, as voicing an opinion or presenting false information as fact without any credentials or proof is easy for anyone, especially online. Sources can often appear as credible even when they are not. Here are a few points to consider when evaluating sources for credibility:
Just because something is presented as a fact, it doesn't mean that it is. Question everything, books, articles, websites, can all contain false data.
Examine the source's and author's credentials and affiliations
Always research the background of any source you are considering using for your paper. Consider the author's credentials and affiliations, are they associated with a certain special interest group? Can the author/source be biased because of certain views and affiliations?
Evaluate what sources are cited by the author
Unless the author is analyzing their own data, their information came from somewhere. Beware if the author doesn't list sources. Always review the sources listed and make sure they stand up to scrutiny.
Make sure the source is up-to-date
Nowadays, due to the speed at which technology moves, information goes out-of-date quickly. Make sure that your source is still relevant and applicable.
Check the endorsements and reviews that the source received
You can read reviews of books printed on them or on the websites of online book retailers. You can find reviews of larger reputable websites. Some smaller sources, like journal articles, might not have reviews readily available, but you can check if the author is reputable.
Check if the publisher of the source is reputable
Large publishers or reputable magazines and journals will thoroughly check the facts of the information they are distributing, which makes these sources pretty safe.
Make sure the source does not use loaded or vague terms to support itself
Beware of sources that use vague terms like "recent studies show", or "many people believe", without backing up these claims with citations. Also beware of buzzwords playing on the readers' emotions.
Beware of bias
Always evaluate if the source presents clear and unbiased information, or if it aims at persuading you from a specific view. A source written from a specific point of view may still be credible, but it can limit the coverage of a topic to a particular side of a debate.