When assigned research papers, you will always be required to utilize credible sources when writing your assignment. The emphasis is usually because there are as many unreliable sources as credible sources in this day and age. Another thing is that whenever you use non-credible and unreliable sources, your paper will, as a result, be filled with untrue, inaccurate, and dated information. All these mistakes may prove costly, as your status as a writer may end up being discredited or compromised.
The best way to ensure that your assignment contains trustworthy and high-quality information are to work with credible information sources. Establishing credibility isn't as easy as just looking at the site and deciding that it looks professional enough. A reliable and credible source meets certain parameters, and here are a few guidelines that will help you establish this.
1. When the Material Was Published
The first way to establish your source's credibility is to look at the publishing date. The information found in books and journals published in the 1980s and 1990s is out-of-date. As a writer, you are supposed to source your information from material published within the last ten years. Even if the information were of great significance when it was published, it would lack any use if it has not been updated to the current time.
For instance, statistics from the year 2000 regarding the spread of malaria and the most affected age demographic are not using currently. However, statistics gathered in the last ten years or less provide a clearer picture of the trends in the spread of the disease. In case you are writing about the trends in the spread of malaria since it was discovered, then information from 2000 may fit your purpose.
2. The Reputation of the Author Behind Your Source
Every credible source is written by a respected and well-known author, such as the authors on WritePaper. Such a source will also be accurately referenced using a proper format. Therefore, another way to tell if your source is credible is to ensure that experts in that specific field write the journals, research papers, or books you are researching. Whether the author holds an advanced degree or bears a lot of experience in the area, they should have credentials that back their opinions on their writing topics.
Additionally, most times, a reliable source will provide you with information regarding the author's qualifications. In some cases, such as in well-respected non-scholarly sources, they may not indicate the credentials. In such instances, these articles' contents are subjected to rigorous publication processes, thus upholding their credibility. Avoid sourcing your information from social media and blogs, where the author's credibility cannot be verified.
3. A Credible Source Is Proved
Whenever you are doing your research in writing, steer clear of sources that lack evidence or references to prove their arguments. If a source is purporting a claim, they should have evidence or reference to back their view. Anyone can edit websites that contain research articles without references, and those are non-credible sources.
You can use them initially when you aim to understand a certain topic, but you shouldn't make them reference points for your research. Furthermore, there are many websites registered to educational and government institutions and academic databases that you can research from. These sites have useful references and links, which may prove helpful when you are doing your research.
4. The Intention of Your Source
Another way to evaluate your source's credibility is by assessing if the information they provide to you is biased and aimed at persuading your view; or if it is unbiased and clear. This isn't to say that a source shouldn't have a point of view. However, if their point of view interferes with a particular topic's coverage, then the source is unreliable. Furthermore, a source written from a one-sided perspective may potentially be biased. Sometimes the bias may even be intentional. For instance, when a group of persons with an agenda funds research, the results may be biased in their favor.
In other cases, this bias may be unintentional, such as when the author of a source has a perspective that makes it impossible for him or her to see a matter from all the potential angles. You may want to work with unbiased facts most of the time when writing your research paper. However, you may also base your writing on other people's opinions but be prudent and always state that it is the author's perspective. Finally, be vigilant and realize that bias can exist in any source, whether it is a popular educational platform or a peer-reviewed article.
5. The Source Should be Relevant to the Intended Audience
The final way to tell that your source is credible is to ensure that it suits the audience it is aimed at. For instance, if your audience is academic, they will opt for peer-reviewed scholarly papers and journals. This is because such articles are considered high-quality since they undergo a review process that removes sources written by biased, unqualified authors.
Various other factors will help you establish whether your source is credible and reliable. On the other hand, remember that a source may be credible but not appropriate. Therefore, always ensure that the source you decide to refer to is both trustworthy and appropriate for your research paper. The insights above will go a long way in helping you determine whether a source should be included in your work.