Chapter 13-2: How to find credible sources
It is important for academic authors to demonstrate that they know what they are talking about and that their ideas are based on solid evidence and on concepts that other people have developed. Chad Lorenz wrote a great article that introduces this topic nicely, entitled Can You Believe It? This news media literacy class would teach people how to sort the true from the false.
When a student uses a book that was published by a well-respected publishing house, cites text from a peer-reviewed scholarly article, or reads up on a reference from a library database, it is not too difficult to evaluate credibility.
The trouble often begins with research on the web.
The problem with the web is that anyone can publish on it and the author’s appearances can be deceiving. Many people and many websites do an excellent job at appearing to be things that they are not.
The "Start Pure" Method
One method of locating credible sources on the Internet could be termed the “start pure” method. This method involves starting with a source that you already know is reputable and looking for references to sources on that website. For example, if you are doing research on heart attacks, you may wish to check out the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation’s website.
If, on the other hand, you are interested in problems related to the environment in Ontario, you may wish to visit the Ontario Ministry of the Environment website.
This method produces more credible results than simply entering “heart attack” or “Ontario environment” on a search engine.
The following resources are designed to help students understand what evidence should—and should not be—used during written compositions and oral discussions who want to convince their readers that they know what they are talking about: