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Library Research Guides

Tavis, Sarah. English 101: Credible sources

Credible source checklist

Your source does not have to meet all of these criteria, but if it doesn’t meet a majority, then it is probably not a good source for academic research.


___ The source is current enough for my topic.

___ The author uses current information (bibliography) to back up claims.


___ The information helps me answer my research questions.

___ The information is written for an academic audience.

___ The language is written at a college level.

___ I have looked at a variety of sources and have chosen the best ones.


___ The author has appropriate credentials for an academic research paper (advanced degree – PhD or Masters).

___ The author can be considered an “expert” in his or her field.

___ The publisher has a good reputation for accurate information.


___ The author cites his or her sources.

___ The author does not make claims without backing them up.

___ The tone appears to be objective and rational.

___ The source is free of spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors.

___ The information has been reviewed by an editor or has been peer reviewed.


___ The author wrote the information for the purpose of furthering knowledge or informing the public (as opposed to profit or entertainment).

___ The information is not propaganda or fear-mongering

___ The author or organization has no financial conflict of interest.

___ The author may have a point of view but has considered multiple points of view.