How to Select Reliable Sources on the Internet
Conducting online research is difficult and one of the most common problems is finding reliable sources. If you have a source of information about your research topic, you need to investigate it and make sure that it’s valid. This is one of the main principles of research ethics. Every researcher is responsible for the trustworthiness of his or her sources. Check out this quick guide from college-writers to learn how to check your sources for reliability.
How to Investigate Your Sources
Investigate the author
First of all, you should avoid sources that don’t provide the author’s name. You should be able to check who the author is and determine whether this person has the necessary expertise. If you don’t know the author’s credentials, it will be much more difficult for you to validate the information. We recommend that you find the author’s website and check the following details:
- Find out whether the writer has any work published in academic journals;
- Check his or her educational credits;
- Check whether or not the writer works in a university or research institution;
- Verify educational credits.
Check the URL
If your information is related to a certain organization, try to evaluate the reliability of this organization. The first thing you can do is to check the URL ending. For example, most educational institutions have site names that end with “.edu.” However, in this case, you still must be sure that your source isn’t politically biased.
If you’re searching for official reports and statistics, we recommend that you stick with the websites that end with “.gov.” these are government websites which will likely provide you with reliable information.
Most websites that end with “.org” are non-profit organizations. These may be either good or bad sources of information so you need to do your research. Check the goals and values of the organization and make sure that it is not politically biased. For instance, PBS.org is a website of a non-profit organization that contains many useful educational articles. Collegeboard.org is a website devoted to the SAT. You can find a lot of statistics and other valuable information. Keep in mind that many websites that end with “.org” are highly political. Although sites of this kind still may provide you with reliable information, make sure to acknowledge their political position in your work.
Online Magazines and Journals
Articles published in reputable magazines and journals usually have a bibliography section. It is a list of sources used in the article, which may contain both online and printed sources. We recommend that you check these sources to find any data that can support the claims made by the writer. Does the author provide enough evidence to back up their point? Search for the information from recent studies and quotes from reputable experts.
Every print news source or television network has a website. We recommend that you stick with reliable news sources, such as BBC or CNN. However, you can also make use of various cable and network stations. Use them as an opportunity to learn about more reliable sources.