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Monday, August 1, 2016 Assessing Source Reliability

I’m sure you’ve seen a ton of incorrect information on the internet in the past. There’s even a meme with Abraham Lincoln saying not to trust everything you read on the internet! But seriously, there is more and more misinformation on the internet each day, and it can make research difficult. 

Because of this problem, Kate L. Turabian’s "A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Dissertations, and Theses Eighth Edition" suggests several questions to ask yourself when you are looking to evaluate your sources.

Look at the Author

What kind of credentials does the author have? Also check to see if their most popular topics are opinion pieces. If they are, be wary. It’s okay if people want to write about more divisive topics, but when looking for scholarly sources, you should try to stay away from those.

Check Out the Date

How long ago was this written? A few decades ago, doctors thought that the pituitary gland was a VESTIGIAL ORGAN. Little did they know removing it would kill you. Make sure your sources are current. The Turabian manual suggests a maximum of ten years for journal articles in social sciences and about 15 for books.

Look at the Publisher

This one’s pretty easy, and it’s basically the difference between Buzzfeed and the New York Times. You know which one is more reputable, so avoid the ones that aren’t!


This factor really increases the reliability of the source because it requires the feedback of other professionals in a field. This is a big deal for reliability.

Other Citations

Have other people used this article for their research? If they haven’t, there might be a reason. Be more cautious with these articles. 

Posted at 10:01 AM | Comments (0)
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