Credibility: Establishing yourself as a reliable source by using credible sources

When writing a paper it is incredibly important to have evidence that comes from reliable sources to support your arguments. Your audience needs to be able to trust in you as an author and believe the information you give them.  A friend once told me that if my hand is bigger than my face I will develop cancer within the next five years. “Where did you hear that?” I asked. She told me it’s what “they say.” But who is they and why should I believe them? These are some of the things to look for when finding credible sources for your paper.

Nowadays a lot of research that students use for papers comes from the internet, and as we all know, the internet cannot lie…at least that’s what “they say.” When using the internet for research, it is important to use reliable websites. Websites such like medical journals, government websites, news sources, and databases and generally good sources of information. Websites that you may not have heard of are probably not in your best interest unless they provide you with a detailed background of the author. The author of the article is incredibly important, and if the author is not provided then that source is more than likely not credible. It is important to look for the date the article was published as well because the information could be out of date or irrelevant.

Because credibility is so important, the Longwood library provides students with a database for credible sources. A student can go online to the Longwood website, click library and type in any key word or phrases that are related to their topic. A list of scholarly journals and articles will appear for the student to choose from. Majority of these sources provide the author or authors and their background- level of knowledge, current job, ect. The date of publication is located on the article along with a list of sources that the article itself uses.

Along with valuable sources, it is important to establish your credibility by showing enthusiasm and organization in your paper.  You must make sure your audience knows that they can relate to you and trust in you as an author and provider of information. If you are not completely familiar with the topic that you are writing on, which does in fact happen in college, this is where credible sources come into play. If these sources are credible they will provide you with the information you need to truly understand your topic and fully relay the information to your audience.

A few things for you to remember about credibility:

  • Find a website with a good background or good reviews
  • Look for an author and a background of the author
  • Publication dates are important to ensure the information is still up to date
  • Look for databases to provide you with scholarly sources on your topic
  • Show enthusiasm and organization when writing a paper