There is no denying that much of the content that is posted on the Internet is not from a credible source. Any person is allowed to post information on the Internet. One great example of a source that is not always credible is Wikipedia. There are no guidelines to who can edit the content on this site so often it is not considered a credible source.
It is important to always do research on where your information is coming from and who it is coming from. It is a red flag that a site is not credible if the author or organization is not stated. Even if a website ends in .org or .edu, it does not mean that it is for sure credible.
Here are a few steps to take when determining if the source is credible or not:
- Figure out a starting point. It is a good idea to think about the topic you are researching and then think of credible sources that you know of without having to use a search engine.
- Look at the homepage. You should always look at what the website looks like that you are pulling information from. If the website has one, go to the “About” section to read more. If you are not familiar with the website or author, and there is no “About” section, make sure to do some background research of your own to see if the author has written anything else.
- Check the date. It is necessary to check the date that the source was written. There is a chance that it may be out-dated and irrelevant if it was written years before.
- Check the sources. Always make sure that your source has sources. You need to know exactly where their information is coming from, especially if they are stating statistics and facts. This is always a great thing to check because you may be able to find even more sources by looking at where they got their information.
- Look at the database. This is a great way to figure out if your source is credible. If you are finding information on a library database, chances are the information will be credible. If you are looking at newspapers that are published online, such as NYTimes, chances are these are credible sources as well.
These tips are crucial when determining if a source is credible or not, but they are also crucial tips to use in being a credible writer yourself. For a list of credible websites, click here.