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Credibility
A credible resource is one that is deserving of belief. A credible resource may provide incorrect or misleading information, but it is much less likely to do so than is a resource that lacks credibility.
What could go wrong?
You may run into a number of problems if you use information that does not come from credible sources.
  • The information may be incorrect
  • The information may be lead you towards a flawed analysis
  • Scholars may see that you have used untrustworthy sources and assume that your research is untrustworthy as well.
How to avoid it:
Use the signs of a credible source to determine whether a work deserves your consideration or not.
What to look for!
Signs of a Credible Source:
Sources of information can usually be determined to be credible or not by considering who is responsible for the information in it, who made it available, and where you learned about it:
  Signs of a credible author
  • advanced degree (PH.D, MD, JD, etc.) in the area being written about
  • affiliation with an institution of higher learning
  • reputation as an expert within area of publication
  • relevant publication record
  Signs of a credible publisher
  • publisher has a reputation for scholarly publishing
  • publisher is affiliated with a university, college or other research institution
  • there is an editorial board consisting of multiple experts in the field
  • the board makes its decisions on the basis of the results of a blind review process
  Signs of a credible referring source
  • reference is from a professor or other expert
  • reference is from a scholarly database (MLA, Medline, etc.)
  • reference is from a scholarly reference work (Encyclopedia of Religion, etc.)
  • reference is from a citations or bibliography of a scholarly book or journal article
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