Determining the Credibility of the Sources

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The sources used for the purpose of completing academic assignments influences the outcome of the assignments, to a big extent. Students, as they are still in the learning stage, depend a lot on the information provided by the sources to deal with their academic assignments. Hence it is very important to make sure that the sources chosen are relevant, informative and credible. The credibility of the sources depends on many factors. Knowing what to look for in a source is the key to finding the appropriate one.

The purpose of a source depends on the given assignment. Sources are used for information, support and sometimes basic reference. The level of credibility required also depends on the project. But it is always safer to pick a reliable source, irrespective of the type of research paper you are writing. There are various aspects which can determine the relevance and credibility of the sources.

• The focus of the source on your topic: The source you choose for your research should suit your objective. It is not a good idea to just pick any source on the subject and find an objective to suit the source. There will be many articles and books written on the subject from which your topic has been taken. But it will be relevant to your research only if it is focused on the particular topic of your research or if the content supports your thesis statement directly or indirectly.

• The experience of the author in the area of your research: The authority of the author to act as a guide for your research depends on the experience he has in the specific area of your research.

• The credentials of the author: This includes relevant educational qualifications of the author and the appreciation his previous efforts in the area has received. It will be ideal if he has some fame to claim in the previous studies done on the subject. The more famous the author, the better.

• The date of publishing: The period during which the article or book was written and published also sometimes influences the credibility of the sources. The characteristics of certain topics keep changing, depending upon the nature of the topic. Such topics are constantly researched upon and the information gets updated every now and then leaving the older facts outdated. Outdated information can mislead you to wrong conclusions.

• Supportive information: The level to which the sources you choose support your thesis matters a lot, mainly in argumentative essays and research papers. A source which offers neutral opinion towards your stance will not help in adding emphasis to your theory.

Some of these aspects become less or more important depending on the type of assignment. But the credentials of the author are important for all academic assignments alike.

Appropriate sources can help in taking a lot of stress off your research paper writing. Using credible sources is the shortest and most effective method of proving your theory. If you learn how to determine the relevance and credibility of the sources, it will save you quite a lot of time and effort.

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