The Credibility of a Source of Information

Information intended to be shared or used for research must be credible. Various sources can provide credible information, including books, websites, journal articles, magazines, and videos. However, there are specific features that determine whether a source is viable or not. These features include the publication date, author, argument type, peer review, references, audience, objectivity, relevance, evidence, and references.

Feature Explanation
Publication date A credible source should be published recently, meaning it should be published within the last five years. The reason is that outdated sources may contain irrelevant information that is useless when making a claim (Ahmad & Jan, 2018). In addition, obsolete theories and formulas may not apply in the contemporary world.
Author A credible source should be written by an author specializing in the content they write. (Jung et al., 2016). For example, an article on psychology written by a journalist is not credible because the author does not have an in-depth understanding of psychology.
Argument type A valid argument is the content of a scholarly source because all its parameters are accurate. The reason is that an idea that is generalized or inductive is based on perception and not facts (Papadopoulos et al., 2016). Therefore, a credible source should have a valid argument that can be proven.
Peer review Content that has been reviewed or edited by experts is credible because the information is evaluated to meet content creation standards (Jung et al., 2016). In addition, peer-reviewed work is examined by experts of the same field for accuracy, plagiarism, and objectivity before they are published.
Objectivity A credible source should not be biased because partiality in writing makes a publication an argumentative source. If the source supports only one viewpoint, it is not reliable because of conflicts of interest (Younger, 2018). The claims made in the publication should be expository and not argumentative.
Validity Does the source provide relevant information about a specific topic? If yes, then the publication is valid because it highlights important aspects of the topic. Moreover, opinions concerning a subject cannot be credible because of bias and conflicts of interest (Younger, 2018). However, a valid argument indicates that the source is accurate because it will address the concepts and consider the principles of the topic.
Audience The audience is who the author targets in their writing (Ahmad & Jan, 2018). For example, if an author is writing for experts of a particular field, the content is credible because the audience will provide insightful critiques that credits or discredits the content. Also, content created or published for entertainment may have more errors than when published for professional use.
Place of publication Manual prints and online sources can be credible, but it depends on the individual uploading the work. For example, all content published by renowned organizations such as the United Nations is scholarly. Also, journals with an ISSN number with an 8-digit code are credible (CTL-F, 2018). On the other hand, web sources such as blogs are not valid because they are personal opinions.
Evidence Work with no evidence is not credible because it is opinionated (Papadopoulos et al., 2016). Instead, scholarly journals should have facts, statistics, or theories that are valid.
References Work with peer-reviewed references or works cited is credible because the reader can confirm all the facts presented in the publication. (Papadopoulos et al., 2016).


Ahmad, M., & Jan, M. A. (2018). Evaluating research: diversity and credibility of information sources. Dialogue (Pakistan), 13(4).

CTL-F. (2018). Online verification skills — video 2: investigate the source [Video]. YouTube.

Jung, E. H., Walsh-Childers, K., & Kim, H. S. (2016). Factors influencing the perceived credibility of diet-nutrition information websites. Computers in Human Behavior, 58, 37-47.

Papadopoulos, S., Bontcheva, K., Jaho, E., Lupu, M., & Castillo, C. (2016). Overview of the special issue on trust and veracity of information in social media. ACM Transactions on Information Systems (TOIS), 34(3), 1-5.

Younger, K. (2018). Scholarly research – be credible. Pressbooks.

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ChalkyPapers. "The Credibility of a Source of Information." August 24, 2022.