There are many sources of information out there, but not all of them are credible. It is essential to differentiate between these sources to evaluate them properly. You want to believe that the information you are absorbing is reliable and dependable, and not just something someone wrote on the internet for a quick laugh or a way to make money from advertisements.
Credible and Non-Credible Sources in Academic Papers
Academic papers are evaluated on citations, sources, and reliability. The sources used must be credible. It means acknowledging the resources you use within the paper, whether it be a magazine, book, or article, you need to let your readers know what they can trust. When writing an essay or article using non-credible sources may lead to being marked down or accused of plagiarism.
There are three types of sources that you will usually see in a paper, creditable sources, non-credible sources, and credible sources.
- Creditable sources are a type of source that can be used to back up factual information. This type of source is seen in academic papers when they are writing non-fiction topics, for example, an article on the history of Abraham Lincoln or the U.S Constitution. These types of sources are seen throughout all academic papers and are usually credible because the writer has taken time to find scholarly information that has been backed up with evidence from other researches.
- Credible sources are classified as being used by the writer himself or herself, an expert from outside the subject matter, or a combination of both. This type of source is seen across the board in academic papers when they are writing about non-fiction topics or historical facts. The majority of credible sources can be found through books or online articles. The writer usually uses this type of source to back up their statements with facts and evidence.
- Non-credible sources are classified as being written for personal gain, written by someone who does not know what they are talking about, or someone who uses the information to make money off advertisements. These sources are seen in newspaper articles and magazine articles that may be “truths” written on a topic that does not necessarily have anything to do with fact. These types of sources are often used when talking about popular culture topics or consumer-based information.
When using credible and non-credible sources in your paper, you must be sure to use them appropriately within the content of the paper. These types of sources are not interchangeable. Even though non-credible sources may look like they have a lot of information on a certain topic, they still have no credibility behind it at all. You need to be sure to use credible and non-credible sources correctly in your academic papers .
What sources can be considered as credible?
The following are several things that you can consider as credible sources:
- Google Scholar materials
- Academic databases like JSTOR
- Research articles that have been published
- Citing books or textbooks that are considered factual in writing and information.
- Government and educational websites such as the Library of Congress, American History and Government websites, etc. (.edu, .gov, .ac)
- Materials published by professional organizations within the previous 10 years
Non-credible sources include:
- Outdated works (published sometime back beyond ten years ago)
- Social media posts (Facebook, etc.)
- Personal blogs
- Research articles that miss citations
How do I know if a source is reliable or not?
The following are some things that you can consider when determining the reliability of sources:
- Do you know the author of the material? Do you trust this author?
- Is the author qualified in his or her field?
- Did the material provide a definition of terms and concepts? Are the definitions credible to you based on your knowledge of the subject matter?
- Are there any examples, illustrations, or graphics that support the information written in the article or are they just written as a way to lure you into reading it? Is it meaningful to you and your understanding of the issue?
- How recent is the information found in this source (is it dated)?
- What other sources does this author recommend reading?
The establishment of academic literature on the use of non-credible sources in writing academic papers has been a growing concern of scholarly authors and educators. Although many articles discuss the importance of evaluating your source and using credible sources in your writing, there remains a lack of research on the effects of non-credible sources on an academic paper.