5 Tips on How to Find Credible Sources for Your Paper

A credible source is one that is free of bias and is based on facts. A reputable individual or group authored it.

There are many sources available, and it might not be easy to identify what is trustworthy and what is not at the first impression.

For your research, it is critical to assess source credibility. It guarantees that you get appropriate data to support the arguments you give and the conclusions you reach.

How do you know if a source is reliable?

When evaluating a source, there are a few things to consider instantly. The CRAAP test is made up of these criteria combined.

  • The data should be relevant and up-to-date, and the resources should be pertinent to your studies.
  • The writer and publication must be reliable information on the topic being investigated.
  • The author’s sources must be simple to locate, transparent, and neutral.
  • The URL and style of web sources should indicate that they are reliable.

Start with a simple search. When you’re first studying your assigned writing topic, search engines like Google or Yahoo! are great starting points.

Come what may, Wikipedia should be avoided. Encyclopedias, both print and online, such as Encyclopedia Britannica, are valuable information sources. Nonetheless, sites like Wikipedia, which allow multiple people to edit, should be avoided. When it pertains to figuring out what to look for, Wikipedia is a fantastic resource, but ensure you double-check everything with reliable sources.

To get the most up-to-date information on a range of subjects, use online scholarly databases like EBSCO, InfoTrac, and LexisNexis.

Current-events information can also be found in print publications. Take, for instance, the New York Times, TIME, and The Wall Street Journal.

Also, don’t forget about the library. Students commonly overlook this valuable source of knowledge because they assume it is more convenient to conduct research online. The problem with this approach is that you risk missing out on a magazine or newspaper ideal for your project.

Keep an open mind.

It doesn’t follow that something is true since it is depicted as such. Everything should be questioned; books, journals, and websites can all be untrustworthy sources.

Verify the certifications and affiliations of the publication and author.

Do your research on any sources you’re considering using in your paper on a regular basis. Examine the author’s credentials and ties as you seek for materials; are they affiliated with a distinct special interest group or some other biased means of income? Is it likely that the author/source is biased because of their personal beliefs and associations?

Check out the author’s sources.

The author’s insight came from somewhere if they were researching their data. Be alert if the author forgets to acknowledge academic sources. Routinely double-check the sources you are using to make sure they will hold up to scrutiny.

Check to see if the source is current.

Data and trustworthy websites are swiftly out-of-date lately due to the rapid pace at which technology advances. Check to see if your source is still appropriate and meaningful and that it comes from a reputable author.

Examine the source’s recommendations and testimonials.

Book reviews may be available in print or on the sites of online book vendors. There are reviews on larger, more respected sites. Although a few lesser sources, for instance, journal papers, may lack reviews, you could verify if the authors are respected experts in their fields.

Examine to see if the source’s publisher is reliable.

Leading publishers and reputable journals and periodicals will painstakingly check the truths of the data they allocate, ensuring the safety of these sources. This is especially important if the article is a peer-reviewed journal or any other science database.

Analyzing the variety of sources the author chose to utilize is one of the various source-evaluation strategies you might use. Journal articles, for instance, will have higher trustworthiness than personal blogs. It is because academics write journal papers with the appropriate credentials, which must cite credible sources to pass peer review.

Public opinion or commentary works do not meet similar academic writing standards as academic writing. News articles can be skewed; fake news has been increasingly common in online search engines in recent years. Recently, prominent newspapers have been victims of this.

To sustain itself, ensure the source does not utilize loaded or ambiguous phrases.

Sites that use euphemisms like “latest studies show” or “most individuals consider” without giving citations to back up their claims should be avoided. This is well-known among online sites; keep in mind, however, that their major goal is to boost traffic, not to publish scholarly, peer-reviewed articles.

Also, avoid buzzwords that concentrate on the audience’s emotions. Notwithstanding their untrustworthiness, a large number of internet publications may use false headlines to lure consumers.

Be wary of prejudice.

Always assess whether the source provides precise and impartial information or attempts to persuade you to adopt a particular point of view. Although a source published from a particular perspective may be reliable, it can confine the scope of a topic’s coverage to one side of a discussion. It’s usually preferable to consult sources that present both sides of an argument.

Several academic publications are required to provide a summary of the other scholarly literature cited.

The CRAAP Test is a memorable acronym that can assist you in determining the integrity of a source you are considering using. It was created in 2004 by California State University to assist students in recalling optimal practices for reviewing information.

The CRAAP test has five parts.

Currency: Is the resource current?

Is the publication appropriate to your investigation?

Where has the source been published? What is the name of the author? Are they regarded as renowned and reliable in their field?

Is the source accurate? Does substantiation back it up? Are the arguments that have been cited accurately?

What was the motivation for publishing this source?

Your study topic will determine the method for assessing each point.

For instance, if you’re investigating cutting-edge scientific technologies, a source from ten years ago won’t suffice. If you’re investigating the Peloponnesian War, though, a publication from 200 years ago might be appropriate.

When determining the objective, be cautious. A source’s motivation can be highly ambiguous (often by design!). For example, a journal paper detailing the efficacy of a certain medicine may appear legitimate, but you can’t be confident it’s devoid of prejudice if the publisher is the medication’s producer. As a general rule, if a source is actively trying to persuade you to buy anything, it is probably not trustworthy.


Take a peek at the author’s references. Is it safe to trust them? Examining the sources utilized may also lead to the discovery of additional sources to contribute to your bibliographies.

Newspapers can be an excellent source of first-hand knowledge on a historical event or can help you place your research topic in perspective. The credibility and dependability of online news sources, on the other hand, can vary greatly, so pay close attention to authenticity.

When examining academic journals or books produced by university presses, it is essential to make sure they’ve been peer-reviewed and published in a recognized journal.

What is peer review, and how does it work?

Entries to academic publications are evaluated through the peer-review process. Depending on a series of criteria, a committee of reviewers in an identical subject area decides if a manuscript should be approved for publication.

As a result, academic journals are frequently seen as among the most reliable sources you may employ in a research project– assuming the publication is reputable and reputable.

Where can I locate reputable sources?

The sources you utilize will vary depending on the type of research you’re doing.

You may utilize a blend of primary, secondary, and tertiary sources for basic research and learning about a new topic.

Preliminary research sources that can be trusted.

Begin with the following resources, based on your topic: Encyclopedias Textbooks

Websites ending in.edu or.org

first-hand journalism sources of news

ScienceMag or Nature Weekly are two examples of research-oriented publications.

Books and academic publications are normally your best option as you go deeper into your academic studies.

Academic journals are among the most reputable sites for finding dependable and authentic information, and they are one of the most reliable sources you may utilize in academic writing.

  • Determining the reliability of a journal
  • Is the journal in a database for academics?
  • Is it true that the magazine has had to remove a large number of articles?
  • Are the journal’s trademark and peer-review procedures freely accessible?

Is there a strong “About” and “Scope” page that describes the types of content they publish?

Has the author of this piece written any other works? You may find out by doing a fast Google Scholar search.

Is the author’s work referenced by other academics? Google Scholar also includes a “Cited By” tool that will show you where the author’s work has been cited. A substantial percentage of “Cited By” answers might be a good indicator of trustworthiness.

Although social media posts, forums, and personal web pages can be useful for needs assessment and grounding tentative ideas, use discretion. These profoundly subjective and personal sources are rarely trustworthy to independently include in your final research product.

Conversely, Wikipedia is not regarded as a reputable source because it may be altered at any time by anybody. It can, nonetheless, serve as a useful beginning point for obtaining comprehensive information and locating other resources.


To get to the base of the Wikipedia article, read all the way to the bottom. A footnotes segment for references and extra reading may be found here. Credible sources, including scholarly articles or books, are frequently linked here to facilitate your research.

A few places you can find academic journals online include:

Directory of Open Access Journals

Wiley Online Library



Taylor and Francis Online

Oxford Academic

Microsoft Academic

Cornell University Library

SAGE Publishing

Academic Journals