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A source is credible if it is reliable. Sometimes it is difficult to determine whether or not sources are reliable. Here are a few points to consider when evaluating sources on reliability:
- Be skeptical!
- Research the references and connections of the source and author
- Evaluate which sources are cited by the author
- Verify that the source is up to date
- Check the approvals and reviews that the source has received
- Check if the source's publisher is reputable
- Beware of bias
Checklist for assessing sources
- Is the author a current expert? What is his/her position?
- Can the author be contacted? And how (email, phone, address, ...)?
- Has the author written anything else on this topic?
- Is the author often cited by others?
- What is the purpose of the information source (advertising, propaganda,...)?
- Does the source contain facts or opinions?
- Are the opinions substantiated?
- Is the information consistent with information in other sources? Are there sources that report the same facts?
- Is the source usable? Does the information fulfil the information need?
- Is there an overview of the sources used?
- Are all angles covered?
- Does the source contain the full text? Or is it a summary or a reference?
- How recent is the information?
- Is the information still current, or has it become outdated?
- Has a new understanding of the topic developed in the meantime?
- Does the information contain references and/or a literature list?
- Have you read the sources in the literature list to check whether the information is correct and whether you agree with the interpretation?
(Boekhorst, Kwast & Wevers, 2004, pp. 241-247).
Credible sources and how to spot them
Checklist (click on the image)