Looking for relevant sources of information for your research is already a tiring process, but when you also need to pay attention to their credibility, it becomes almost impossible! However, it’s still a quite critical aspect to pay attention to. Using unreliable sites like Wikipedia, even if it’s a two-page essay in middle school, is not welcomed.
Don’t know how to find credible sources? No worries! Custom-Writing experts have created this brilliant guide for you. It’s not merely a compilation of best tips on how to choose reliable websites for research. There are also many examples of reliable sources that you can use for basically any type of paper you may need to write!
👨🎓️ What Are Credible Sources?
Credible Sources: Definition
In general, credible sources are the ones that can be considered unbiased and have some sort of evidence to rely on. Popular dictionaries can give you a whole list of the criteria that help you identify one. For example, a credible book would be written by respected and recognized authors in the last ten years.
- information published within last 10 years;
- texts written by respected authors;
- websites belonging to educational and governmental institutions;
- articles from Google Scholar;
- academic databases.
- outdated information;
- texts written by someone without proper credentials;
- commercial websites;
- articles without citations;
- blog posts.
Non-credible sources are the complete opposite of the definition above. They shouldn’t be used, especially when you are working on essential pieces of writing. An unreliable source would most definitely be outdated and coming from the writers with no credentials. Also, beware of unknown blog posts that don’t have any citations!
How to Determine Credible Sources?
You need to pay close attention to several things when looking for credible sources. First of all, the information needs to be published at least within the last few years. Check whether the authors are well-known and have received some acknowledgment. The majority of websites belonging to governmental and educational institutions are reliable. If you’re still not sure, you can always check if the source is present in Google Scholar or any other academic database.
In some cases, your teacher or supervisor might provide you with particular requirements regarding the sources. For instance, you would need to pick the most recent studies published within the last five or even three years.
Why Is it Important to Use Credible Sources for Research?
Long story short, no one will believe the arguments you make in your essay are correct if they are based on Wikipedia’s information. So taking your time and picking trustworthy sources guarantees that your statements will convince the readers. An academic research paper is expected to be backed up by reliable evidence.
This way, you, as the author of the paper, gain the audience’s trust and support. When your main arguments derive from credible places, they know that you haven’t made it up. Also, it’s more than just about the authority. Sometimes, unreliable sources may contain errors and mistakes, which is especially bad for science projects. Because then you’ll have to use a rewriting tool or otherwise fix your text. So make sure you can trust the information!
🌐 Examples of Credible Sources: Websites
A List of Reliable Sources for Research Papers
Finding reliable sources for a research paper is not an easy task. Let’s start with the easily accessible ones – websites. You have probably heard and used Google Scholar, but surprise-surprise, there are so many similar services that can help you find credible books and articles! Check out a list of credible online platforms that will help you do that.
- Google Scholar. It’s the most popular and easy-to-use search engine that can present scholarly pieces of writing on any topic you require. Google Scholar is free to use, and you can choose to look for any type of publishing format.
- JSTOR. JSTOR is an online library of all kinds of sources, such as books, articles, and journals. Even though access is limited, it can be a great help for students. It is also considered one of the most reliable databases since the sources are selected very carefully before being placed there.
- Microsoft Academic. You can use this web search engine for free. Not only it helps you find the necessary literature, but it tracks the most recent academic publications and research in the field of your interest! Moreover, it was relaunched in 2016, featuring a more user-friendly interface.
- SAGE Publishing. This independent publisher gives you open access to academic journals and much more in case of your subscription! Every year they drop thousands of high-quality content in the form of books and journals, so it’s a pretty reputable source.
- Taylor and Francis Online. It is quite well-known by many researchers and has a good reputation. They publish peer-reviewed journal articles. This online tool gives you access to all the journals published by this company. Free admission is limited, so you should double-check the terms first.
- ScienceDirect. ScienceDirect is a massive database of scientific and medical literature, which you can access via subscription. All 18 million pieces published there are known to be credible. Therefore, this tool can be more than efficient and reliable for your research.
- Academia. Academia is a free resource similar to Google Scholar, where you can look through and even download any paper you want. However, sometimes the authors only upload a part of their work. So you would need to contact them yourself if you’re interested.
- Scopus. It is one of the biggest databases of peer-reviewed journals and articles. Note that they only offer the option of checking the abstracts and citations for free, but not the papers’ full content. So you need to review the terms to gain full access.
A List of Credible News Sources
Of course, journalism isn’t comparable to academic writing. No matter how hard you try to describe world news, politics, or economics, thousands of people will find your article subjective.
But still, there are some less credible and more credible news sources. We’ve gathered here several news websites with a good reputation.
- BBC News. BBC News is one of the most trusted sources you can ever find. They post all the fresh pieces of news in text, video, or audio format on their official website. Since it’s a TV channel, you don’t need to pay extra to access the content.
- The Economist. The Economist is a well-known and respected weekly magazine with a focus on international business, economics, and politics. It is also available online. Even though the subscription fee is not that small, people say it’s totally worth it.
- The Wall Street Journal. It is another American-based giant of the business journals’ world. It appears to be extremely popular and published both digitally and in broadsheet format. You can always find business news for free, but the readers still recommend investing in The Wall Street Journal.
- Google News. You can think of Google News as a personal organizer of the most relevant headlines. You just set up your preferences, and this tool generates an endless stream of articles based on your interests. It’s believed to be the largest of its kind.
- The Guardian. We could never miss The Guardian! This British newspaper, staying in business for over two hundred years now, is one of the people’s favorites. Their online publications are free for everybody, but they would appreciate your input since they are running on donations.
- CNN. CNN is another international TV channel which mainly covers business and politics. It’s amongst the most popular channels in the US and is famous for delivering breaking news. It’s a great place to start if you want to keep your finger on the pulse of the North American news.
A List of Credible Sources on Natural Science
And in this last section of useful links, you’ll find reputable sources on natural science. Every link presents a trusted website filled with knowledge you can easily apply to your research paper.
- NASA. There is no denying that NASA is quite reliable. It’s a governmental source of information about the most recent discoveries and explorations of space. Not only can you find videos, reports, and pictures there, but you can join the live streams of such events as launching and landing!
- Scientific American. It’s an absolute must-have for everyone interested in science and technology! The works of the most famous scientists were published there. Even Albert Einstein’s article featured in one of the issues! You can either buy a paper version of the magazine or subscribe to their website.
- Popular Science. This science-oriented source is more for the general audience. Even though it covers various discussions and doesn’t always present the latest discoveries, Popular Science is still a reliable and respectable source of infor mation. As a journal, it has won multiple awards!
- National Geographic. For the lovers of nature, this source is perfect for exploring the most exciting news and documentaries on any topic you want! It’s originally a TV network, but you can also check out their website and even a smartphone application. It’s also known for being reliable as they provide good sourcing and evidence.
✅ Website Reliability Checklist
How can you tell if a website is credible? Check it for these factors:
- Contact information
- Up-to-date material
- Regularly revised information
- Links to support every side fact
- Informative purpose
- No broken links on the page
- No grammar or punctuation mistakes
- No misspellings
- Mentioned in scientific sources
If you can’t find at least nine of these signs in your article, be careful—there’s a chance you’re dealing with a non-credible source.
Remember, you can always use our lists of credible websites for faster access to trusted investigations.
✏️ Credible Sources FAQ
What definitely makes a website credible is .edu or .gov in the URL code. You may add “inurl:.edu” or “inurl:.gov” to your Google search. If a website is not updated, the content is not structured, the texts contain grammatical and formatting mistakes – that source is probably not reliable.
Any website that contains .edu or .gov in the URL code would serve as an example of a credible online source. Other relatively reliable sources include famous online dictionaries and encyclopedias. However, beware of unreliable copies of such websites with a similar title or design.
It is usually possible to tell if the source is credible relying on common sense. For example, if there are formatting and grammatical mistakes, the content is not structured, the pages do not load properly, and the website is not updated, it is probably unreliable.
To determine that an online source might not be credible, pay attention to details. Does the site look neat and structured? Are there mistakes in grammar or formatting? Do the pages load properly? Does it have huge ad banners that hinder the website usage?