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COM1010 Research Tutorial

Your Guide to a Successful Speech!

Introduction to Evaluating Your Information

Here are some questions to ask yourself when you are reviewing information:

  • Does the author have some sort of authority on the subject?
  • Is the information reliable? Credible?

What makes a source reliable and credible?

Finding reliable and credible sources to support your ideas and observations lends authority to your report.

What do these words mean when you are selecting a source?

reliable source can demonstrate that it is consistently good in quality or performance. The peer-review process is intended to provide consistency in quality, which is why you are asked to find peer-reviewed research articles from scholarly journals. Publications or websites that have a long history of publication, a full description of who they are on their "About Us" page, can help support the reliability of a source. Authors who have credentials or training in a field or discipline, and regularly publish in recognized sources, may also be considered "reliable". If you use information from the web or popular sources like magazines, you should "google" the author's name to see if you can find this kind of information about them. Sometimes the author's name has a link that leads to more information about them.

Credible is defined by Merriam Webster as "offering reasonable grounds for being believed". Credible sources should provide reliable evidence for their assertations, and all sources should be noted or linked. Statistics, graphs, and charts should lead to the original source. Any bias or point-of-view would be explicitly stated. The source providing the information (website organization, publisher, etc.) should provide a full description of themselves. Credible articles should at the very least provide an author and date of the information, and you should always get more information about the author's reliability to help establish their credibility. Peer-reviewed publication requirements, such as providing citations for any sources used, and valid statistical analysis of any data, help establish their credibility.

This short video will help you consider the components of credibility when judging a source.

How to Evaluate Your Information

The chart below will give you an idea of if the resources you're finding are reliable.

***Clicking on the image will open a PDF that you can save, print, etc.